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Title: The Digger Movement in the Days of the Commonwealth - As Revealed in the Writings of Gerrard Winstanley, the Digger, Mystic and Rationalist, Communist and Social Reformer
Author: Berens, Lewis Henry
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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      All material added by the transcriber is surrounded by
      braces {}.

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As Revealed in the Writings of Gerrard Winstanley, the Digger
_Mystic and Rationalist, Communist and Social Reformer_


Author of "Towards the Light"
Etc. Etc.

    "Was glänzt ist für den Augenblick geboren;
    Das Echte bleibt der{1} Nachwelt unverloren."

Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co. Ltd.






CHAP.                                                          PAGE

   I. THE REFORMATION IN GERMANY                                  1

  II. THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND                                 12

 III. THE GREAT CIVIL WAR                                        23

  IV. THE DIGGERS                                                34

   V. GERRARD WINSTANLEY                                         41


 VII. THE NEW LAW OF RIGHTEOUSNESS                               68

VIII. LIGHT SHINING IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE                           79

  IX. THE DIGGERS' MANIFESTOES                                   90

   X. A LETTER TO LORD FAIRFAX, ETC.                            100

  XI. A WATCHWORD TO THE CITY OF LONDON, ETC.                   112




  XV. THE SAME CONTINUED                                        179

 XVI. THE SAME CONTINUED                                        206

XVII. CONCLUDING REMARKS                                        228

                    PEASANTRY, 1525                             235

          "    B. CROMWELL ON TOLERATION                        241


      BIBLIOGRAPHY                                              255

      INDEX                                                     257




     "Whatever the prejudices of some may suggest, it will be admitted
     by all unbiassed judges, that the Protestant Reformation was
     neither more nor less than an open rebellion. Indeed, the mere
     mention of private judgment, on which it was avowedly based, is
     enough to substantiate this fact. To establish the right of private
     judgment, was to appeal from the Church to individuals; it was to
     increase the play of each man's intellect; it was to test the
     opinion of the priesthood by the opinions of laymen; it was, in
     fact, a rising of the scholars against their teachers, of the ruled
     against their rulers."--BUCKLE.

What is known in history as the Reformation is one of those monuments in
the history of the development of the human mind betokening its entry
into new territory. Fundamental conceptions and beliefs, cosmological,
physical, ethical or political, once firmly established, change but
slowly; the universal tendency is tenaciously to cling to them despite
all evidence to the contrary. Still men's views do change with their
intellectual development, as newly discovered facts and newly accepted
ideas come into conflict with old opinions, and force them to reconsider
the evidence on which these latter were based. Prior to the Reformation,
many such conceptions and beliefs, at one time holding undisputed
dominion over the human mind, had been called into question, their
authority challenged, undermined, and weakened, and they had commenced
to yield pride of place to others more in accordance with increased
knowledge of nature and of life. The revival of classical learning,
geographical and astronomical discoveries, and more especially, perhaps,
the invention and rapid spread of the art of printing, had all conspired
to give an unparalleled impetus to intellectual development,--and the
Reformation was, in truth, the outward manifestation in the religious
world of this development.

Prior to the Reformation, wherever a man might turn his steps in Western
Europe, he found himself confronted with what was proudly termed the
Universal Church: one hierarchy, one faith, one form of worship, in
which the officiating priests were assumed to be the indispensable
mediators between God and man, everywhere confronted him. Religion was
then much more intimately blended with the life of man than it is now;
and on all matters of religion, Western Europe seemed to present a
united front and to be impervious to change. Appearances, however, are
proverbially deceitful. Beneath this apparent uniformity and general
conformity, there lurked countless forces, spiritual, intellectual,
social and political, making for change. Dissent and dissatisfaction,
with myriads of tiny teeth, had undermined and weakened the stately
columns that upheld the imposing structure of the Universal Church. Even
within the Church itself there was seething inquietude, and thousands of
its purest souls longed, prayed and struggled for its practical
amendment. To emancipate the Church from the clutches of the autocracy
of Rome; to remove the abuses that, in the course of centuries, had
grown round and sullied its primitive purity; to lighten the fiscal
oppression of the Papacy and to check the rapacity of the Cardinals; to
reform and discipline the priesthood; even to modify certain doctrines
and dogmas: such were the aspirations of some of the most devout,
eminent and cultured sons of the Church. Outside its communion there
were many forms of heresy, which, though generally regarded as
disreputable and often treated as criminal, the apparently all-powerful
Church had never been able entirely to eradicate. And, at first at
least, both these forces favoured the efforts of the early Lutheran

The influence of the Reformation, of "the New Learning," on
theological, ethical, social and political thought can scarcely be
overestimated. Under the supremacy of the Church of Rome, men, educated
and uneducated, had come to rely almost entirely on authority and
precedent, and had lost the habit of self-reliance, of unswerving
dependence on the dictates of reason, which was one of the
distinguishing characteristics of the classical philosophers and their
disciples, as it is of the modern scientific school of thought. In
short, concerning matters spiritual and temporal, Faith had usurped the
function of Reason. Hence any innovations, whatever their abstract
merit, were regarded not only with justifiable suspicion and caution,
but as entirely unworthy of consideration, unless, of course, they could
be shown to be in accordance with accepted traditions and doctrines, or
had received the sanction of the Church. But even the Church itself was
popularly regarded as bound by tradition and precedent; and when the
Papacy sanctioned any departure from established custom, it was
understood to do so in its capacity of infallible expounder of
unalterable doctrines.

The habits of centuries still enthralled the early Reformers.
Circumstances compelled them to attack some of the doctrines and customs
of their Mother Church, of which at first they were inclined to regard
themselves as dutiful though sorrowful sons. The logic of facts,
however, soon forced them outside the Church. Then, but then only, for
the authority of the Church, they substituted the authority of the
Scriptures. To apply to them Luther's own words, "they had saved others,
themselves they could not save." In their eyes Reason and Faith were
still mortal enemies,--as unfortunately they are to this day in the eyes
of a steadily diminishing number of their followers,--and they did not
hesitate to demand the sacrifice of reason when it conflicted, or
appeared to conflict, with the demands of faith: and that, indeed, as
"the all-acceptablest sacrifice and service that can be offered to God."
In a sermon in 1546, the last he delivered at Wittenberg, Luther gave
vent, in language that even one of his modern admirers finds too gross
for quotation, to his bitter hatred and contempt for reason, at all
events when it conflicted with his own interpretation of the Scriptures,
or with any of the fundamental dogmas and doctrines he had himself
formulated or accepted. While even in milder moments he did not hesitate
to teach that[4:1]--

     "It is a quality of faith that it wrings the neck of reason and
     strangles the beast, which else the whole world, with all
     creatures, could not strangle. But how? It holds to God's word:
     lets it be right and true, no matter how foolish and impossible it
     sounds. So did Abraham take his reason captive and slay it....
     There is no doubt faith and reason mightily fell out in Abraham's
     heart, yet at last did faith get the better, and overcame and
     strangled reason, the all-cruelest and most fatal enemy to God. So,
     too, do all other faithful men who enter with Abraham the gloom and
     hidden darkness of faith; they strangle reason ... and thereby
     offer to God the all-acceptablest sacrifice and service that can
     ever be brought to Him."

However, whatever may have been the personal desires and tendencies of
those associated with its earlier manifestations, the forces of which
the Reformation was the outcome were not to be controlled by them. The
spirit of which they were the product was not to be controlled by any
fetters they could forge. The Reformation emancipated the intellect of
Europe from the yoke of tradition and blind obedience to authority; it
let loose the illuming flood of thought which had been accumulating
behind the more rigid barriers of the Church, and swept away as things
of straw the feebler barriers the early Reformers would have erected to
confine the thoughts of future generations. The futility of all such
efforts we can gauge, they could not. Blind obedience to authority, in
matters spiritual and temporal, had been the watchword and animating
principle of the power against which they had rebelled; liberty and
reason were the watchwords and animating principles of the movement of
which they, owing to their rebellion, had temporarily become the
recognised leaders. The right of private judgement, in other words, the
supremacy of reason as sole judge and arbiter of all matters, spiritual
as well as secular, was the essential element of the movement of which
the Reformation was the outcome; how, then, could they, the children of
this movement, hope to change its course?

When considering the forces and circumstances that made the Reformation
possible, when so many equally earnest previous attempts in the same
direction had failed, we should not lose sight of the favourable
political situation. Under cover of its religious authority, by means of
its unrivalled organisation, as well as by its temporal control of large
areas of the richest and most fertile land in Europe, the Church of Rome
annually drained into Italy a large part of the surplus wealth of every
country that recognised its spiritual authority. Such countries were
impoverished to support not only the resident but an absentee
priesthood, and to enable the Princes of the Church to maintain a more
than princely state at Rome. This was a standing grievance even in the
eyes of many sincerely devout Churchmen, and one which was prone to make
statesmen and politicians look with a favourable eye on any movement
which promised to lessen or to abolish it. Germany in this respect had
special reasons for discontent; as has been well said, "It was the milch
cow of the Papacy, which at once despised and drained it dry." And, as
everybody knows, it was in Germany that the standard of revolt against
the authority of Rome was first successfully raised. The political
constitution of that country was also peculiarly favourable to the
protection of the Reformation and of the persons of the early Reformers.
Although owing a nominal allegiance to the Emperor, or rather to the
will of the Diet which met annually under the presidency of the Emperor,
the head of each of the little States into which Germany was divided
claimed to be independent lord of the territory over which he ruled.
Hence, when the Ernestine line of Saxon princes took the Reformation and
the early Reformers under their protection, there was no power ready
and willing to compel them to relinquish their design. The democratic
independence of the Free Cities also made them fitting strongholds of
the new teachings.

Students of history would do well never to lose sight of the fact that
every religion which attempts to bind or to guide the reason, to direct
the lives and to determine the conscience of mankind, necessarily has an
ethical as well as a theological, a social as well as an individual
side. It concerns itself, not only with the relation of the individual
to God or the gods, but also with the relations and duties of man to
man. Hence the close relation and inter-relation of religion and
politics. Politics is the art or act of regulating the social relations
of mankind, of determining social or civic rights and duties. It is
neither more nor less than the practical application of accepted
abstract ethical, or religious, principles in the domain of social life.
Hence we cannot be surprised that almost every wide-spread religious
revival, every renewed application of reason to religion, which almost
necessarily gives prominence to its ethical or social side, has been
followed by an uprising of the masses against what they had come to
regard as the irreligious tyranny and oppression of the ruling
privileged classes. The teachings of Wyclif in England, in the
fourteenth century, were followed by the insurrection associated with
the name of Wat Tyler; the teachings of Luther and his associates, in
the sixteenth century, by the Peasants' Revolt.

To the economic causes of the unrest of the peasantry and labouring
classes during the fifteenth and sixteenth century, we can refer only
very briefly. At the time of the great migration of the fifth century,
the free barbarian nations were organised on a tribal or village basis.
By the end of the tenth century, however, what is known as the Feudal
System had been established all over Europe. "No land without a lord" was
the underlying principle of the whole Feudal System. Either by conquest
or usurpation, or by more or less compulsory voluntary agreement, even
the free primitive communities (_die Markgenossenshaften_) of the
Teutonic races had been brought under the dominion of the lords,
spiritual or temporal, claiming suzerainty over the territory in which
they were situated. The claims of the Feudal Magnates seem ever to have
been somewhat vague and arbitrary. At first they were comparatively
light, and may well have been regarded and excused as a return for
services rendered. The general tendency, however, was for the individual
power of the lords to extend itself at the cost and to the detriment of
the rural communities, and for their claims steadily to increase and to
become more burdensome. During the fourteenth century many causes had
combined to improve the condition of the industrial classes; and during
the end of the fourteenth and the early part of the fifteenth century the
condition of the peasantry and artisans of Northern Europe was better
than it had ever been before or has ever been since: wages were
comparatively high, employment plentiful, food and other necessaries of
life both abundant and cheap.[7:1] At the beginning of the sixteenth
century, however, the prices of the necessaries of life had risen
enormously, and there had been no corresponding increase in the earnings
of the industrial classes. Moreover, the Feudal Magnates had commenced to
exercise their oppressive power in a hitherto unparalleled manner: old
rights of pasture, of gathering wood and cutting timber, of hunting and
fishing, and so on, had been greatly curtailed, in many cases entirely
abolished, tithes and other manorial dues had been doubled and trebled,
and many new and onerous burdens, some of them entirely opposed to
ancient use and wont, had been imposed. In short, the peasantry and
labouring classes generally were oppressed and impoverished in countless
different ways.

In Germany, as indeed in most other parts of Feudal Europe, the
peasantry of the period were of three different kinds. Serfs
(_Leibeigener_), who were little better than slaves, and who were bought
and sold with the land they cultivated; villeins (_Höriger_), whose
services were assumed to be fixed and limited; and the free peasant
(_die Freier_), whose counterpart in England was the mediæval
copyholder, who either held his land from some feudal lord, to whom he
paid a quit-rent in kind or in money, or who paid such a rent for
permission to retain his holding in the rural community under the
protection of the lord. To appreciate the state of mind of such folk in
the times of which we are writing, we should remember that "the good old
times" of the fifteenth century were still green in their minds, from
which, indeed, the memory of ancient freedom and primitive communism,
though little more than a tradition, had never been entirely banished:
which sufficiently accounts, not only for their impatience of their new
burdens, but also for their tendency to regard all feudal dues as direct
infringements of their ancient rights and privileges.

"We will that you free us for ever, us and our lands; and that we be
never named and held as serfs!" was the demand of the revolting English
peasant in 1381; and the same words practically summarise the demands of
the German peasantry in 1525. The famous Twelve Articles in which they
summarised their wrongs and formulated their demands, forcibly
illustrate the direct influence of the prevailing religious revival on
the current social and political thought.[8:1] Briefly, they demanded
that the gospel should be preached to them pure and undefiled by any
mere man-made additions. That the rural communities, not the Feudal
Magnates, should have the power to choose and to dismiss their
ministers. That the tithes should be regulated in accordance with
scriptural injunctions, and devoted to the maintenance of ministers and
to the relief of the poor and distressed, "as we are commanded in the
Holy Scriptures." That serfdom should be abolished, "since Christ
redeemed us all with His precious blood, the shepherd as well as the
noble, the lowest as well as the highest, none being excepted." That the
claims of the rich to the game, to the fish in the running waters, to
the woods and forests and other lands, once the common property of the
community, should be investigated, and their ancient rights restored to
them, where they had been purchased, with adequate compensation, but
without compensation where they had been usurped. That arbitrary
compulsory service should cease, and the use and enjoyment of their
lands be granted to them in accordance with ancient customs and the
agreements between lords and peasants. That arbitrary punishments should
be abolished, as also certain new and oppressive customs. And, finally,
they desired that all their demands should be tested by Scripture, and
such as cannot stand this test to be summarily rejected.

That the demands of the peasants, as formulated in the Twelve Articles,
were reasonable, just and moderate, few to-day would care to deny. That
they appealed to such of their religious teachers as had some regard for
the material, as well as for the spiritual, well-being of their fellows,
may safely be inferred from the leading position taken by some of these
both prior to and during the uprising. Nor can there be any doubt but
that at first the peasants looked to Wittenberg for aid, support and
guidance. Those who had proclaimed the Bible as the sole authority,
must, they thought, unreservedly support every movement to give
practical effect to its teachings. Those who had revolted against the
abuses of the spiritual powers at Rome, must, they thought, sympathise
with their revolt against far worse abuses at home. They were bitterly
to be disappointed. From Luther and the band of scholastic Reformers
that had gathered round him, they were to receive neither aid, guidance
nor sympathy. The learned and cultured Melanchthon, Luther's right hand,
denounced their demand that serfdom should be abolished as an insolent
and violent outrage (_ein Frevel und Gewalt_), and preached passive
obedience to any and every established authority. "Even if all the
demands of the peasants were Christian," he said, "the uprising of the
peasants would not be justified; and that because God commands obedience
to the authorities." Luther's attitude was much the same. Though a son
of a peasant, and evidently realising that the demands of the peasants
were just and moderate, and "not stretched to their advantage," he at
first assumed a somewhat neutral attitude, which, however, he soon
relinquished; and in a pamphlet to which his greatest admirers must wish
he had never put his name, and which shocked even his own times and
many of his own immediate followers, he proclaimed that to put down the
revolt all "who can shall destroy, strangle, and stab, secretly or
openly, remembering that nothing is more poisonous, hurtful and devilish
than a rebellious man."

The rulers did not fail to better his instruction. In defence of their
privileges, the German princes, spiritual and temporal, catholic and
evangelical, united their forces, and the uprising was put down in a sea
of blood. The peasants, comparatively unarmed, were slaughtered by
thousands, and the yoke of serfdom was firmly re-fastened on the necks
of the people, until, some three hundred years later, in 1807, the
Napoleonic invasion compelled the ruling classes voluntarily to
relinquish some of their most cherished privileges. From a popular and
religious, the Reformation in Germany degenerated into a mere political
movement, and fell almost entirely into the hands of princes and
politicians to be exploited for their own purposes. The reorganisation
of the Churches, which the Reformation rendered necessary in those
States where it was maintained, was for the most part undertaken by the
secular authorities in accordance with the views of the temporal rulers,
whose religious belief their unfortunate subjects were assumed to have
adopted. The activities of the Lutheran Reformers were soon engrossed
weaving the web of a Protestant scholasticism, strengthening and
defending their favourite dogma of justification by faith, abusing and
persecuting such as differed from them on some all-important question of
dogma or doctrine, framing propositions of passive obedience, and other
such congenial pursuits.

Of the moral effect of the Reformation, of its effect on the general
character of the people who came under its influence, which is the one
test by which every such movement can be judged, we need say but little.
To put it as mildly as possible, it must be admitted, to use the words
of one of its modern admirers,[10:1] that "the Reformation did not at
first carry with it much cleansing force of moral enthusiasm." In the
hands of men more logical or of a less healthy moral fibre, Luther's
favourite dogma, of justification by faith alone, led to conclusions
subversive of all morality. However this may be, enemies and friends
alike have to admit that the immediate effects of the Reformation were a
dissolution of morals, a careless neglect of education and learning, and
a general relaxation of the restraints of religion. In passage after
passage, Luther himself declared that the last state of things was worse
than the first; that vice of every kind had increased since the
Reformation; that the nobles were more greedy, the burghers more
avaricious, the peasants more brutal; that Christian charity and
liberality had almost ceased to flow; and that the authorised preachers
of religion were neither heeded, respected nor supported by the people:
all of which he characteristically attributed to the workings of the
devil, a personage who plays a most important part in Luther's theology
and view of life.

Thus, to judge by its immediate effects, the Reformation appears to have
been conducive neither to moral, to social, nor to political progress.
And yet to-day we know that the intellectual movement of which it was
the outcome contained within itself inspiring conceptions of social
justice, political equality, economic freedom, aye, even of religious
toleration and moral purity, unknown to any preceding age, and the full
fruits of which have yet to be harvested to elevate and to bless


[4:1] Luther's _Works_, ed. Walch, viii. 2043: "Erklärung der Ep. an die
Galater." Quoted by Beard, _The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_,
p. 163.

[7:1] See Thorold Rogers' _Six Centuries of Work and Wages_, p. 389.

[8:1] See Appendix A.

[10:1] Beard, _loc. cit._ p. 146.



     "It was in the name of faith and religious liberty that, in the
     sixteenth century, commenced the movement which, from that epoch,
     suspended at times but ever renewed, has been agitating and
     exciting the world. The tempest rose first in the human soul: it
     struck the Church before it reached the State."--GUIZOT.

In Germany, as we have seen, from a religious and popular, the
Reformation degenerated into a mere scholastic and political movement,
favourable to the pretensions of the ruling and privileged classes,
opposed to the aspirations of the industrial classes, and conducive
neither to moral, social, religious, nor political progress. In England,
on the other hand, it ran a very different course. From a merely
political, it gradually rose to the height of a truly religious and
popular movement, infusing new life into the nation and lifting it into
the very forefront of the van of progress, curbing the insolent
pretensions of king, priest and noble, purifying the minds of the people
of time-honoured but degrading conceptions of the functions of Church
and of State, inspiring and uplifting them with new conceptions of
political freedom, social justice, moral purity and religious
toleration, which, despite temporary periods of reaction, have never
since entirely lost their sway over the hearts nor their influence over
the destinies of the British nation.

For many centuries prior to the Reformation the English people had been
jealous and impatient of all ecclesiastical power, as of all foreign
interference in their national affairs, more especially of the claims
and pretensions of the Papacy. In England, as in Germany and even in
France, the idea of a National Church controlled and administered by
their own countrymen, and freed from the supremacy of the Church and
Court of Rome, was one familiar even to devout Catholics. Moreover, the
teachings of Wyclif had sunk deep into the hearts of the people, and
only awaited a favourable opportunity to yield their fruits: already in
the fourteenth they had paved the way for the Reformation of the
sixteenth century. Hence it was that when Henry the Eighth, from purely
personal and dynastic reasons, became involved in a quarrel with the
Pope, he found his subjects prepared for greater changes in religious
matters than any he contemplated or desired. However, by a series of
legislative enactments, the Church of England, in 1534, was emancipated
from the superiority of the Church of Rome; the papal authority was
wholly abolished within the realm; Henry was legally recognised as the
supreme head of the Church of England; the power of the spiritual
aristocracy was broken and the whole body of the clergy humbled; the
monasteries were suppressed; the great wealth and vast territorial
possessions of the Church became the prey of the Crown, only to be
dissipated in lavish grants to greedy courtiers: and thus the
foundations were laid for greater changes in both Church and State than
those who promoted such measures ever dreamed of.

From its inception the Church of England comprised two opposing and
apparently irreconcilable elements, namely, those whose sympathies and
leanings were toward the forms, dogmas and doctrines of Roman
Catholicism, and those whose sympathies and leanings were toward the
forms, dogmas and doctrines of the German and Swiss Reformers. Of
religious toleration both parties were probably equally intolerant. That
the State was directly concerned with the religious beliefs of the
people, hence was justified in enforcing conformity to the Church as by
law established, seems to have been unquestioningly accepted by both.
The one desired to make use of the temporal power to prevent, the other
to promote, further changes in Church government, worship and doctrine.
The result was a compromise, which, like most compromises, satisfied the
more logical and consistent of neither party. As ultimately
established, in the reign of Elizabeth, the Church of England occupied
a sort of middle position between the Church of Rome and the Reformed
Churches of the Continent; and the attempt to enforce conformity to its
demands resulted in the separation from it of the extremists of both
sections. On the one hand, the English Roman Catholics became a distinct
and persecuted religious body, whose members were generally regarded,
despite repeated evidence to the contrary, as necessarily enemies of
England. On the other, despairing of further changes in the direction
they desired, a large number of the extreme Protestants separated
themselves from the National Church--though by so doing they rendered
themselves liable to be accused not only of heresy, but of high treason,
and to suffer death--and formed themselves into different bodies of
Separatists or Independents, differing on many points among themselves,
but united by a common animosity of all outside ecclesiastical control.
Within the Church the Catholic sentiment crystallised into the
Episcopalian, the Protestant sentiment into the Presbyterian section of
the Church of England. During the reign of Elizabeth the Protestant
element grew steadily stronger, as did also the spirit of political
independence, as manifested in the debates and divisions of the House of
Commons. It is a suggestive and noteworthy fact that during the long
reign of Henry the Eighth the House of Commons only once refused to pass
a Bill recommended by the Crown. During the reigns of Edward the Sixth
and of Mary the spirit of political independence commenced to revive;
and during the reign of Elizabeth the spirit of liberty and sense of
responsibility manifested by the House of Commons were such as
repeatedly to thwart the designs and to alter the policy of this
high-spirited monarch. It was, however, the severity of the policy of
the last of the Tudors and the first two of the Stuart kings against the
dissenting Protestants, that identified the struggle for religious
liberty, for liberty of conscience, with the struggle for political
liberty, and made these men in a special sense the champions of a more
or less qualified religious toleration, and of a constitutional
political freedom.

The growth of extreme Protestantism, more especially perhaps of
Independency, was greatly quickened during the reigns of both Mary and
Elizabeth, by the immigration of many thousands of refugees fleeing from
religious persecutions on the Continent. Amongst these were disciples
and apostles of many sects that were heretics in the eyes of both the
Catholic and the Protestant Churches, and who rejected alike the dogmas
and doctrines of Rome, of Wittenberg, and of Geneva. The one point all
such sects seem to have had in common was the denial of the sanctity and
efficacy of infant baptism: hence their inclusion under the general term
Anabaptists, even though many of them passionately disclaimed any
connection with this hated, proscribed and persecuted sect. As Gerrard
Winstanley, the inspirer of the Digger Movement, seems to us to have
been greatly influenced by the teaching of one of these sects, the
Familists, or Family of Love, it may be well to give here a brief
outline of its history and main doctrines.

The founder of the Family of Love was one David George, or Joris, who
was born at Delft in 1501. In 1530 he was severely punished for
obstructing a Catholic procession in his native town. In 1534 he joined
the Anabaptists, but soon left them to found a sect of his own. He seems
to have interpreted the whole of the Scripture allegorically;[15:1] and
to have maintained that as Moses had taught hope, and Christ had taught
faith, it was his mission to teach love. His teachings were propagated
in Holland by Henry Nicholas, and in England by one Christopher Vittel,
a joiner, who appears to have undertaken a missionary journey throughout
the country about the year 1560. According to Fuller,[16:1] in 1578,
the nineteenth year of the reign of Elizabeth, "The Family of Love began
now to grow so numerous, factious, and dangerous, that the Privy Council
thought fit to endeavour their suppression."

The most lucid account of the doctrines of this sect may be gained from
a beautifully printed little book, entitled _The Displaying of an
Horrible Sect of Gross and Wicked Heretics naming themselves the Family
of Love_, published the same year, 1578, and written by one I. R. (Jn.
Rogers), a bitter but fair-minded opponent of their heresies, a
Protestant, and a zealous defender of the Lutheran dogma of
justification by faith alone. In his Preface the author bewails "the
daily increase of this error," declaring that "in many shires of this
our country there are meetings and conventicles of this Family of Love."
Amongst those who have been converted, he tells us, were many who had
hitherto been "professors of Christ Jesus' gospel according to the
brightness thereof." He denounces Christopher Vittel, the joiner, as
"the only man that hath brought our simple people out of the plain ways
of the Lord our God," and complains how "he driveth the true sense of
the Holy Ghost into allegories," and contendeth that "otherwise to
interpret the Holy Scriptures is to stick to the letter." To the Family
of Love, he tells us, "Christ signifieth anointed." He continues, "I
pray you mark but this one thing in their teachings, how they drive the
true sense of the Holy Ghost into allegories. And when any text of Holy
Scriptures is alleged by any of God's children, they answer that we
little understand what is meant thereby; and then if they be pressed to
expound the place, by and by it is drawn into an allegory. For they take
not the creation of man at the first to be historical (according to the
letter), but mere allegorical: alleging that Adam signifieth the earthly
man ... the Serpent to be within man; applying still the allegory, they
destroy the truth of the history."

The writer's greatest grievance, however, is their rejection of the
Lutheran dogma of justification by faith, and their agreement "with the
Papists in extolling works as efficient causes of salvation." "Amongst
the rest, indeed," he exclaims, "they insinuate a good life, as which
they pretend to follow, which is as the vizard and cloak to hide all the
rest of their gross and absurd doctrines, and the hook and bait whereby
the simple are altogether deceived." He is greatly concerned that "none
but those who are willingly minded to their doctrines can get a sight of
their books";[17:1] and that "they are disinclined to disputations and
conferences with those not inclined to their opinions." He informs his
readers that "it is a maxim in the Family to deny before men all their
doctrines, so that they keep the same secret in their hearts"; that
though they may inwardly reject, yet they will outwardly conform to the
forms of the Church as by law established; that "they have certain
sleights amongst them to answer any question that may be demanded of
them." Thus "they do decree all men to be infants who are under the age
of thirty years. So that if they be demanded whether infants ought to be
baptized, they answer yea; meaning thereby that he is an infant until he
attain to those years at which time they ought to be baptized, and not
before." However, it may be well to mention here that the writer speaks
of the Anabaptists and of the Family of Love as if he recognised them to
be distinct heresies.

From their doctrines as formulated in this pamphlet, based on "A
Confession made by two of the Family of Love before a worthy and
worshipful Justice of the Peace, May 28th, 1561," we take the following:

     (_a_) "When any person shall be received into their congregation,
     they cause all their brethren to assemble, the Bishop or Elder
     doth declare unto the newly-elected brother, that if he will be
     content that all his goods shall be in common amongst the rest of
     all his brethren, he shall be received."

     (_b_) "They may not say God save anything. For they affirm that all
     things are ruled by Nature, and not directed by God."

     (_c_) "They did prohibit bearing of weapons, but at the length,
     perceiving themselves to be noted and marked for the same, they
     have allowed the bearing of staves."

     (_d_) "When a question is demanded of any of them, they do of order
     stay a great while ere they answer, and commonly their words shall
     be Surely or So."

     (_e_) "They hold that no man should be baptized before he is of the
     age of thirty years."

     (_f_) "They hold that heaven and hell are present in this world
     amongst us, and that there is none other."[18:1]

     (_g_) "They hold the Pope's service and this service now used in
     the Churches to be naught."

     (_h_) "They hold that all men that are not of their congregation,
     or that are revolted from them, to be dead."

     (_i_) "They hold that they ought to keep silence amongst
     themselves, that the liberty they have in the Lord may not be
     espied of others."

     (_k_) "They hold that no man should be put to death for his
     opinion: therefore they condemn Master Cranmer and Master Ridley
     for burning Joan of Kent."

We shall have occasion to refer to some of these doctrines again later
on. It may be well, however, to mention here that the views that no
Christian ought to be a magistrate; that magistrates should not meddle
with religion; that no man ought to be compelled to faith, or put to
death for his religion; that war is unlawful to Christians; that their
speech should be yea or nay, without any oath: seem to have been
accepted by Anabaptists generally, as they were by the primitive
Christian communists of the fourteenth century.[18:2]

To return to our immediate subject. To the development of religious and
political thought in England, as to the inevitable struggle due to the
inherent antagonism of Catholic and Protestant ideals and aspirations,
we can refer only very briefly. The former can perhaps best be traced in
the writings of three eminent theological writers, Jewel, Hooker, and
Chillingworth. Though in 1567 we hear of the first instance of actual
punishment of Protestant Dissenters, still during the earlier portion of
the reign of Elizabeth, to the year 1571, there seems to have been a
gradual growth of national sentiment toward a simpler form of worship,
resulting in a modification of those rites and usages disliked by
Protestants of all shades and sects, and against the established policy
of forcible suppression of religious differences. In 1571, a Bill having
been introduced imposing a penalty for not receiving the communion, it
was objected to in the House of Commons on the grounds that "consciences
ought not to be forced." The same Parliament "refused to bind the clergy
to subscription to three articles on the Supremacy, the form of Church
Government, and the power of the Church to ordain rites and ceremonies,
and favoured the project of reforming the Liturgy by the omission of
superstitious practices."[19:1] In 1572, however, the appearance of
Thomas Cartwright's celebrated _Admonition to the Parliament_ stemmed
the course of religious reform, and produced a reaction of which
Elizabeth and her Primates were not slow to avail themselves. The
establishment, in 1583, of the Ecclesiastical Commission as a permanent
body, wielding the almost unlimited powers of the Crown and creating
their own tests of doctrine, put an end to the wise spirit of compromise
which had hitherto characterised Elizabeth's religious policy. The
"superstitious usages" were encouraged; subscription by the clergy of
the Three Articles, which the Parliament of 1571 had refused to enforce
by law, was exacted; and the non-conforming clergy were relentlessly
harried and persecuted: with the result that the Presbyterians within
and the Puritans without the National Church were temporarily united by
the pressure of a common persecution.

It was Cartwright's political rather than his religious views that
alarmed Elizabeth and her Ministers. As against their theory of a
State-controlled Church, he advocated a Church-controlled State. In
fact, the most arrogant and insolent pretensions of the Papacy were
surpassed by this Presbyterian divine. Of course, all his demands were
based on the authority of Scripture and the ways and customs of the
primitive Christian Church. The rule of bishops he denounced as begotten
of the devil; the absolute rule of presbyters he held to be established
by the word of God. All other forms of Church government were ruthlessly
to be suppressed, and heretics were to be punished by death. For the
ministers of the Church he claimed not only all spiritual power and
jurisdiction, the decreeing of doctrines, the ordering of ceremonies,
and so on, but also the supervision of public morals, under which every
branch of human activities was included. In short, the State, as well as
the individual, was to be placed beneath the heel of the Church. The
power of the prince, the secular power, was tolerated only so that it
might "protect and defend the councils of the clergy, to keep the peace,
to see their decrees executed, and to punish the contemners of them."
Such doctrines aroused no responsive echo in the minds of the English
people. The nation whose revolt against the papal supremacy had made the
Reformation possible, were not disposed to accept Presbyterian supremacy
in its place. The national impatience of ecclesiastical power was not
likely suddenly to be removed by any attempt to re-impose it under a new
name and in a new garb. In fact, Cartwright's work almost seems as if
specially written to warn the nation against a possible, if not an
imminent, danger, to warn them, in truth, that--"New Presbyter is but
Old Priest writ large."

Cartwright's narrow-minded dogmatism was crushingly answered in Richard
Hooker's _Ecclesiastical Polity_, the first volume of which appeared in
1594. This remarkable book forms, indeed, an important landmark in the
history of English political and religious thought. Its forcible
exposition of the basic principles of constitutional civil government
makes many portions of it even to-day most attractive and instructive
reading. For the first time in the history of religious controversy,
reason is extolled above any and every authority, and accepted as
supreme judge and arbiter of spiritual, as well as of temporal, affairs.
Though Hooker thought it fit that the reason of the individual should
yield to that of the Church, he did not hesitate to declare "that
authority should prevail with man either against or above reason, is no
part of our belief. Companies of learned men, be they never so great and
reverend, are to yield unto reason." As Buckle well points out,[21:1] if
we compare this work with Jewel's _Apology for the Church of England_,
written some thirty years previously,--and ordered, together with the
Bible and Fox's _Martyrs_, "to be fixed in all parish churches and read
to the people,"--"we shall at once be struck by the different methods
these eminent writers employ.... Jewel inculcates the importance of
faith; Hooker insists on the exercise of reason.... In the same opposite
spirit do these great writers conduct their defence of their own Church.
Jewel thinks to settle the whole dispute by crowding together texts from
the Bible, with the opinions of the commentators upon them.... Hooker's
defence rests neither upon tradition, nor upon commentators, nor even
upon revelation; but he is content that the pretensions of the hostile
parties shall be decided by their applicability to the great exigencies
of society, and by the ease with which they adapt themselves to the
general purposes of ordinary life."

The celebrated work by Chillingworth, _The Religion of Protestants, a
Safe Way to Salvation_, published in 1637, and of which two editions
were issued within less than five months, also deserves special mention
here. His fundamental position may be well summarised in one of his own
sentences--"I am fully assured that God does not, and therefore that man
ought not to require any more of any man than this, to believe the
Scriptures to be God's word, to endeavour to find the true sense of it,
and to live according to it." Even more fully than Hooker,
Chillingworth accepts reason as the all-sufficient guide of human
conduct, and admits no reservations that might limit the sacred right of
private judgement. The essential difference between these three eminent
writers is admirably summarised by Buckle in the following
words:[21:2]{2} "These three great men represent the three distinct
epochs of the three successive generations in which they respectively
lived. In Jewel, reason is, if I may so say, the superstructure of the
system; but authority is the basis upon which the superstructure is
built. In Hooker, authority is only the superstructure, and reason is
the basis. But in Chillingworth, whose writings were harbingers of the
coming storm, authority entirely disappears, and the whole fabric of
religion is made to rest upon the way in which the unaided reason of man
shall interpret the decrees of an omnipotent God."

In fact, Chillingworth's great work may well be regarded as the last
word of the Protestant Reformation in England.


[15:1] According to Beard, _The Hibbert Lectures_, 1883, p. 119, "It was
a mediæval maxim, which no one thought of questioning, that the language
of the Bible had four senses--the literal, the allegorical, the
tropological, and the anagogical, of which the last three were mystical
or spiritual, in contradistinction to the first." The learned Erasmus,
who lived and died a devout Roman Catholic, seems to have accepted this
allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures. Of interpreters of the
Holy Scriptures, he recommends those "who depart as far as possible from
the letter." Erasmus, _Opp._ (_Enchiridion_), v. 29, B, C, D. Quoted by
Beard, p. 120.

[16:1] _Church History_, vol. iv. p. 407.

[17:1] When occasion arose, they do not seem to have been averse to
giving publicity to their opinions. In 1656 a London publisher, Giles
Calvert, to whom we shall have occasion to refer again, republished _A
Discourse on the Family of Love, originally presented to the High Court
of Parliament in the time of Queen Elizabeth_. This Giles Calvert was
the printer and publisher of nearly all Winstanley's pamphlets, and also
one of the first authorised printers and publishers for the Children of
Light, as the Quakers, or Society of Friends, originally styled
themselves. We have reason to believe that Calvert, as well as many
other of Winstanley's disciples, joined the Quakers about the time of
the republication of this pamphlet.

[18:1] "There is no other flame in which the sinner is plagued, and no
other punishment of hell, than the perpetual anguish of mind which
accompanies habitual sin."--Erasmus, _Enchiridion_. Quoted by Beard.

[18:2] See _Communism in Central Europe in the Time of the Reformation_,
by Karl Kautsky, more especially p. 79.

[19:1] Green's _Short History of the English People_, p. 457.

[21:1] _History of Civilisation in England_, vol. i. p. 340.

[21:2] _Ibid._ vol. i. p. 351.



     "The lawful power of making laws to command whole politic societies
     of men, belongeth so properly to the same entire societies, that
     for any prince or potentate of what kind soever upon earth, to
     exercise the same of himself, and not either by express commission
     immediately and personally received from God, or else by authority
     derived at the first from their consent, upon whose persons they
     impose laws, it is no better than mere tyranny. Laws they are not
     therefore which public approbation hath not made so."--HOOKER,
     _Ecclesiastical Polity_.

When Chillingworth's great work was published, in 1637, the last of the
Tudors, after having outlived her popularity, had passed to her rest, as
had also her most unworthy successor, whose insolence had outraged, but
whose weakness had strengthened, the awakening spirit of liberty, and
who, as Macaulay well expresses it,[23:1] "was, in truth, one of those
kings whom God seems to send for the express purpose of hastening
revolutions." To him had succeeded his most worthy son: a king whose
perfidy and duplicity were only equalled by his self-complacency and
power of self-deception, who never looked facts in the face, but
placidly expected them to conform to his own petty desires, and whose
dignified death failed to atone for a life devoted to ignoble personal
ends, by crooked ways and treacherous means; a king peculiarly incapable
of taking a broad statesman-like view of any question, who manifested no
thought for the interests of the people of whom he regarded himself as
ruler by right divine, whose futile domestic policy was inspired solely
by considerations for the advancement of his own personal power, whose
feeble and shifty foreign policy was determined only by considerations
for his own family interests, who intrigued with France against Spain,
with Spain against France, with both against Holland, and with Holland
against both, and with France, Spain, Holland, and Rome against his own
subjects, with English Presbyterians against English Independents, with
English Independents against English Presbyterians, and with Irish
Catholics and Scotch Presbyterians against both English Presbyterians
and Independents, and who yet succeeded in deceiving nobody but himself,
and in satisfying nobody, not even himself; a king whose love was far
more dangerous than his hate, a worthy patron of a Buckingham, a Goring,
or of a Laud, but unworthy the genius of a Shaftesbury or the loyal
services of a Verney, a Montrose, or a Worcester; a king, in short,
treacherous to his friends, faithless to his word, who went to his
wedding and came to his throne with a lie on his lips,[24:1] whom, again
to use the words of Macaulay,[24:2] "no law could bind, and whose whole
government was one system of wrong," of whom even the conservative and
partial Hallam is forced to admit[24:3] that "it would be difficult to
name any violation of law he had not committed." Even the famous
Petition of Right, to which some nine years previously, in 1628, he had
given a solemn, though reluctant, consent, had been ruthlessly violated.
Taxes had been levied by the Royal authority; patents of monopoly had
been granted; the course of justice had been tampered with, and judges
arbitrarily deposed; troops had been billeted upon the people; old
feudal usages had been revived for the express purpose of harassing and
defrauding the citizens; and, as if to exhaust every means to sap the
loyalty and wear out the patience of the people, Puritans of every shade
of opinion had not only been silenced but relentlessly persecuted, while
High Church bishops preached passive obedience, declaring the persons
and the property of subjects to be at the absolute disposal of the
sovereign, and in the name of religion inaugurating a systematic attack
on the rights and liberties of the nation.

The people whose representatives a quarter of a century previously, in
1604, had met the insolent claims of James the First with the dignified
rejoinder, that "your Majesty should be misinformed if any man should
deliver that the kings of England have any absolute power in themselves
either to alter religion, or to make any laws concerning the same,
otherwise than in temporal causes by consent of Parliament,"[25:1] were,
however, not easily to be intimidated. Despite a Royal order to adjourn,
the House of Commons of 1629, holding the Speaker by force in the Chair,
supported the immortal Eliot in his last assertion of English liberty,
and by successive resolutions declared that whosoever shall bring in
innovations in religion, or whosoever shall counsel or advise the taking
and levying of the subsidies of tonnage and poundage, not being granted
by Parliament, "a capital enemy to this kingdom and commonwealth," and
any person voluntarily yielding or paying the said subsidies, not being
granted by Parliament, "a betrayer of the liberty of England, and an
enemy to the same."[25:2] Having thus flung their defiance in the face
of the King, the House then voted its own adjournment.

From that time events had marched quickly. Those who had played the most
prominent parts in that momentous scene, including Holles, Selden, and
Eliot, had been thrown into prison, the last-named to die there, the
first martyr to the growing cause of civil freedom and religious
liberty. In 1637, the year of the publication of Chillingworth's work,
the whole question of the right to levy taxation was revived by the
demand on the inland counties for ship-money, and the attention of the
whole country attracted to it by the trial of Hampden on his refusal to
pay same. Later in the year, Charles' attempt to alter the
ecclesiastical constitution and form of public worship in Scotland led,
first to discontent, then to riot, and finally to open rebellion. As a
direct consequence, the King, in April 1640, was compelled to call what
from its brief duration is known as the Short Parliament, in which,
thanks to the Parliamentary tactics of Hampden, the design of the Court
Party, to obtain supplies without redressing grievances, was
constitutionally thwarted. On the manifestation of its determination to
redress wrongs and to vindicate the laws, this Parliament was at once
dissolved. The end of the tyranny, however, was fast approaching. In
August of the same year the King marched northward; the Scotch crossed
the border to meet him; on their approach the disaffected English army
was well pleased to fly rather than to fight those whom they were
inclined to regard as deliverers rather than as enemies; a truce was
patched up, and to meet the critical situation the King, in November
1640, found himself compelled to summon his last and most famous
Parliament, known in history as the Long Parliament.

The temper of the new Parliament, in which Pym and Hampden at first
exercised a paramount influence, was very different from that of any of
its predecessors. Recent events had convinced its leading members that
half measures would be worse than useless. During its first session,
Strafford and Laud, the two main supporters of absolute government and
religious tyranny, were impeached and imprisoned; those whom the King
had employed as instruments of oppression were called to account for
their conduct; the Star Chamber, the Court of High Commission and the
Council of York, were abolished; ship-money was declared illegal, and
the judgement in Hampden's case was annulled; the victims of the recent
religious persecutions were set at liberty, and conducted through London
in triumph; old oppressive feudal powers still appertaining to the Crown
were swept away; the King was made to give the judges patents for life
or during good behaviour; the Forest and Stannary Courts were reformed;
Triennial Parliaments were established; and, finally, it was provided
that the Parliament then sitting should not be prorogued or dissolved
save by its own consent.

After the recess the difficulties and dangers of the situation
increased daily. Revolt, popularly regarded as fomented by the Court
Party, had broken out in Ireland; the King, evidently seeking power and
opportunity to retract the concessions he had made, was seeking aid in
all directions--Rome, France, Spain, and was intriguing in Scotland; the
air was full of rumours of a plot of the Court to bring down the army in
the North to overawe the Parliament; and the moderate men,--"that is to
say, men who never go to the bottom of any difficulty," as Gardiner
expresses it,--by whose aid the above changes had been effected, were
inclined to pause, if not to retrace their steps. Under these
circumstances the popular leaders in the House of Commons, in November
1641, framed and passed the Great Remonstrance, which was practically an
address to the nation, to justify their past action and to appeal for
further support. In this famous document all the oppressive and
arbitrary acts of the past fifteen years were narrated in impressive
language; a detailed account was given of the necessary work already
accomplished, of the dangers and difficulties yet to be surmounted,
declaring the purpose of the House to be, not to abolish Episcopacy, but
to reduce the power of the bishops; and, finally, indicating the line of
future constitutional reform by urging that the King should employ no
Ministers save those in whom the Parliament could place confidence.

Contrary to expectation, the debate on the Remonstrance was long and
stormy, and the division--it was only carried in a full House by a
majority of nine--showed plainly that a reaction in favour of the King
had already begun. Charles had now a final opportunity of regaining the
confidence of the representatives of the nation, and for a few days it
seemed as if he were inclined to follow a moderate, dignified and
constitutional course. But for a few days only. On the 3rd of January
1642, without giving a hint of his intentions to the constitutional
Royalists he had so recently called to his councils, and whom he had
faithfully promised to consult on all matters relating to the House of
Commons, he sent down his Attorney-General to impeach the leading
members of the House, Pym, Holles, and Haselrig, at the bar of the
House of Lords, on a charge of high treason. As Macaulay well
says,[28:1] "It would be difficult to find in the whole history of
England such an instance of tyranny, perfidy, and folly." But worse was
to follow. The Commons refused to surrender their members, and Charles
resolved on their forcible arrest on the floor of the House. The
threatened members, however, had been warned, and had taken refuge in
the City of London; their absence, together with the dignified attitude
of the remaining members, prevented the outrage ending in bloodshed: in
a bloodshed the possibility of which it is even to-day impossible to
contemplate with equanimity.

Though the Militia Bill, which would have given Parliament the control
of the armed forces of the nation, was the ostensible, this outrage on
the part of the King was the direct and mediate, cause of the outbreak
of the Civil War. "To be safe from armed violence," the Commons, as far
as the rules of the House would permit, placed themselves under the
protection of the City; and the day previous to the one fixed for their
return to St. Stephen's under the protection of the trained bands of
London, the King left Whitehall, to return to it only to pay the dire
penalty for his past offences. Both sides now actively prepared for the
inevitable struggle. Owing to Pym's forethought, the Tower was
blockaded, and the two great arsenals of Hull and Portsmouth secured for
the Parliament. Owing to the force and boldness of his language, the
House of Lords was scared out of the policy of obstruction it had taken
up. On the avowal by Parliament of the refusal of the governor of Hull
to open the gates to the King, the members of the Royalist party
withdrew from Westminster; and on August 22nd, 1642, the uplifting of
Charles' standard on a hill at Nottingham announced the outbreak of the
Civil War.

On the well-trodden ground of the progress of the war, it is unnecessary
for our purposes to dwell. The issues involved were truly tremendous.
The evolution of the English Constitution had left it undecided to whom
the supreme power in the nation did rightfully accrue: and this was,
perhaps, the most practical question at issue.[29:1] As between
Parliament and King, the question was, whether the supreme power was to
continue to be wielded by a king whose temporal jurisdiction was to be
limited only by ancient laws interpreted by judges of his own creation
and removable at his pleasure, or by the representatives of the nation
in Parliament assembled? It was left to the Model Army to remind the
members of the Long Parliament that their power, as that of "all future
representatives of this nation, is inferior only to theirs who choose
them."[29:2] However, to make both King and Church responsible to
Parliament was, in truth, the one common aim of the whole Parliamentary
party; and, as Gardiner well points out,[29:3] "every year which passed
after the Restoration made it more evident that, for the time at least,
the most substantial gains of the long conflict had fallen to those who
had concentrated their efforts on this object."

Keeping in view the reforms secured during the first session of the Long
Parliament, it may fairly be urged that everything necessary to this end
had been gained prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, everything, of
course, save the control of the sword; and this, if the King could have
been trusted, was not immediately urgent, and would necessarily have
followed the control of the purse. "If the King could have been
trusted!" In these words the key to the whole situation is to be found.
The Parliamentary leaders could not, did not, dared not, trust the
King: hence the power of the sword had to be wrested from his grasp. It
was this that made the Civil War inevitable. It was this that rendered
constitutional government, government by discussion, government by
compromise, impossible. It was this well-grounded and repeatedly
confirmed distrust of the King that, after years of war and repeated and
sincere negotiations, negotiations which only served still further to
reveal his duplicity, made the execution of the King unavoidable. As the
judicial Gardiner well says,[30:1] in summing up the causes which led to
this most solemn, impressive, and instructive event in the whole history
of England--"The situation, complicated enough already, had been still
further complicated by Charles' duplicity. Men who would have been
willing to come to terms with him, despaired of any constitutional
arrangement in which he was to be a factor; and men who had long been
alienated from him were irritated into active hostility. By these he was
regarded with increasing intensity as the one disturbing force with
which no understanding was possible and no settled order consistent. To
remove him out of the way appeared, even to those who had no thought of
punishing him for past offences, to be the only possible road to peace
for the troubled nation."

The religious issues of the great struggle, however, were by no means so
simple. Episcopacy, as it had existed, had few supporters in England
outside the ranks of the bishops. The Laudian coercion had not only
reawakened slumbering animosities and given renewed vigour to the
Puritan dislike of the forms and ceremonies of the Anglican Church, but
had served to fill men's minds with a healthy, vigorous, and deep-rooted
distrust of ecclesiastical government in any form. To any claims,
whether of kings or of bishops or of presbyters, to rule by Divine
right, the ear of the nation was temporarily closed. If Protestants of
all shades of opinions had learned to distrust Episcopacy, intellectual
men of all shades of religious beliefs, and of none, equally distrusted
Presbyterianism, and feared that the free play of intellectual life
would be as much endangered by the rule of the presbyters as by the
rule of the bishops. We should, however, do well to remember that at the
outbreak of the war most of the great Parliamentary leaders, including
Pym, Hampden, and even Cromwell, had no deep-rooted objection to
Episcopacy as a form of Church government, provided only that it was
controlled by Parliament, and allowed the fullest possible liberty of
conscience. They all shared Pym's expressed conviction that "the
greatest liberty of the kingdom is religion," and seemed to have
inclined toward the ideal of Chillingworth, a full liberty of thought
maintained within the unity of the Church. It was their necessity, not
their will, the necessity to gain the cordial co-operation of the
Scotch, that later compelled them to commit themselves to
Presbyterianism, of their profound distrust of which they gave repeated
proof. And it is worthy of special note that even in the time of their
greatest need the English Parliament, to use Gardiner's words,[31:1]
"was as disinclined as the Tudor kings had ever been to allow the
establishment in England of a Church system claiming to exist by Divine
right, or by any right whatever independent of the State."

That religious conformity was a necessary condition of national unity,
aye, even of national existence, was, however, still accepted as an
axiomatic truth by those whose mental visions were limited by inherited
conceptions. To such as these the only question at issue seems to have
been whether an Episcopalian or a Presbyterian system of Church
government should prevail. Of the claims of those who would bow the head
neither to Rome, to Geneva, nor to Canterbury, who refused to entrust
their conscience to pope, to bishop, or to presbyter, the extreme
adherents of both these systems were probably equally insensible. And
yet it was precisely such men who were to come to the front during the
coming struggle, and who, under the guidance of their great leader, were
to become the champions of that great democratic principle of
toleration, of liberty of conscience, which was the one leading
principle of his life.[31:2] It was precisely such men who were to
proclaim to the rulers of the nation--"That matters of religion and the
ways of God's worship are not at all entrusted by us to any human
power, because therein we cannot remit or exceed a tittle of what our
consciences dictate to be the mind of God without wilful sin." But who
themselves were tolerant enough to be willing that "nevertheless the
public way of instructing the nation (_so it be not compulsive_) is
referred to their discretion."[32:1]

"So it be not compulsive!" in these words we have the key to the
position of the great body of sectarians known under the name of
Independents. They recognised, to use the words of their immortal
leader, that "it's one thing to love a brother, to bear with and love a
person of different judgement in matters of religion; and another thing
to have anybody so far set in the saddle on that account, as to have all
the rest of his brethren at mercy." So it be not compulsive! in these
words, too, we have the secret of their subsequent attitude toward the
Long Parliament and its successors. As Gardiner forcibly expresses
it--"Men who longed for religious toleration with a stern conviction
were impatient of parliamentary majorities working for uniformity." To
their opponents, more especially to those of the strict Presbyterian
school, toleration may have seemed of the devil, incompatible with
individual salvation, and injurious alike to Church and to State; to the
Independents, on the other hand, it was a necessary condition of
continued existence. They had no desire to establish a State Church of
their own; they were not prepared to deny that at least "a public way of
instructing the nation" might be necessary; but they were determined
that any such Church should be tolerant of the claims of men like
themselves, who could not conform their conscience to its requirements.
To create a home of liberty out of the England of the Tudors and the
Stuarts, of Laud and of Prynne, was a task beyond even their powers. But
whatever they may have failed to accomplish, they saved England from the
ecclesiastical tyranny Presbyterianism at that time involved, and raised
the standard of liberty and toleration, which during the great struggle
obtained a hold of the mind of the nation such as it never had before,
but never entirely lost again.

At the very outbreak of the Civil War, Cromwell's aim had been to find
"men who know what they fight for, and love what they know,--men as had
the fear of God before them, as made some conscience of what they
did."[33:1] Such men soon gathered round the great Independent, and he
moulded them into the famous Ironsides, by whose aid he turned the tide
of defeat at Marston Moor, and gained the glorious victories of Naseby,
Preston, Dunbar, and Worcester. Such men stood by his side at the
momentous Army Council at Windsor, May 1st, 1648, when it was solemnly
resolved, "not any dissenting," "that it was our duty, if ever the Lord
brought us back again in peace, to call Charles Stuart, that man of
blood, to account for the blood he had shed, and mischief he had done to
his utmost, against the Lord's cause and people in these poor
nations."[33:2] It was such men who, on December 6th, 1648, to save the
kingdom from a new war or from a peace destructive of everything they
had fought for,[33:3] purged the House of Commons of its "malignant"
members; and who cut the Gordian knot of the difficulties that beset the
nation by bringing the King, who seemed to them to stand in the way of
any and every satisfactory settlement, to trial and execution (January
30th, 1649). Moreover, it was such men who most heartily concurred with
the resolution of the House of Commons (February 7th, 1649), "That it
has been found by experience ... that the office of a king in this
nation, and to have the power thereof in any single person, is
unnecessary, burdensome, and dangerous to the liberty, safety, and
public interests of the people of this nation, and therefore ought to be
abolished." And, finally, it was such men who were the main supporters
of the Council of State to whom, on February 13th, 1649, under the
control of the House of Commons, was entrusted full executive authority
over the home and foreign affairs of the nation.


[23:1] Macaulay's _Essays_, "John Hampden."

[24:1] In 1624, Charles had voluntarily sworn to the House of Commons
that if he married a Roman Catholic "it should be of no advantage to the
recusants at home." In the autumn of the same year, on his betrothal to
Henrietta Maria, sister to the King of France, he solemnly swore to
grant the very condition he had previously solemnly sworn never to
concede. He came to the throne early in the following year, 1625.

[24:2] _Loc. cit._

[24:3] _Constitutional History_, vol. ii. p. 81.

[25:1] The Apology of the Commons, 1604. See Gardiner's _History of
England_, 1603-1642, vol. i. pp. 180-185.

[25:2] _Ibid._ vol. vii. pp. 72-76.

[28:1] _Loc. cit._

[29:1] This was the point of view taken at the time by the Levellers,
the most active and progressive politicians of the period. In a "Humble
Petition of thousands of well affected people inhabiting the City of
London," presented September 11th, 1648, the petitioners address the
House of Commons as "the supreme authority of England," and desire it so
to consider itself. They complain that the Commons have declared their
intention not to alter the ancient government of King, Lords and
Commons, "not once mentioning, in case of difference, which of them is
supreme, but leaving that point, which was the chiefest cause of all our
public differences, disturbances, wars, and miseries, as uncertain as
ever." See _Clarke Papers_, vol. ii. p. 76.

[29:2] See "The Agreement of the People for a firm and present peace,"
as presented to the Council of the Army, October 28th, 1647. Reprinted
at the end of the third volume of Gardiner's _History of the Civil War_.

[29:3] _History of the Civil War_, vol. ii. p. 67.

[30:1] _History of the Civil War_, vol. iv. pp. 327-328.

[31:1] _History of the Civil War_, vol. iii. p. 95.

[31:2] See Appendix B.

[32:1] "The Agreement of the People for a firm and present peace."
(Italics are ours.)

[33:1] See Carlyle's _Cromwell's Letters and Speeches_, part ii. p. 135,
and part x. p. 255.

[33:2] See Gardiner's _History of the Civil War_, vol. iv. pp. 120-121.

[33:3] Cromwell seems early to have foreseen and guarded against such a
contingency. See Gardiner, _ibid._ vol. ii. p. 25.



     "The way to cast out Kingly Power is not to cast it out by the
     Sword; for this doth but set him in more power, and removes him
     from a weaker to a stronger hand. The only way to cast him out is
     for the people to leave him to himself, to forsake fighting and all
     oppression, and to live in love one towards another. The Power of
     Love is the True Saviour."--WINSTANLEY, _A New Year's Gift for the
     Parliament and Army_.

The Council of State which, on February 13th, 1649, within a month of
the execution of the King, had been appointed to administer the public
affairs of England, had scarcely settled down to their work when they
received the following information of the mysterious doings of "a
disorderly and tumultuous sort of people" very near to their


     "Informeth, that on Sunday was sennight last,[34:2] there was one
     Everard, once of the army but was cashiered, who termeth himself a
     prophet, one Stewer and Colten, and two more, all living at Cobham,
     came to St. George's Hill in Surrey, and began to dig on that side
     the hill next to Campe Close, and sowed the ground with parsnips,
     carrots, and beans. On Monday following they were there again,
     being increased in their number, and on the next day, being
     Tuesday, they fired the heath, and burned at least forty rood of
     heath, which is a very great prejudice to the town. On Friday last
     they came again, between twenty and thirty, and wrought all day at
     digging. They did then intend to have two or three ploughs at work,
     but they had not furnished themselves with seed-corn, which they
     did on Saturday at Kingston. They invite all to come in and help
     them, and promise them meat, drink, and clothes. They do threaten
     to pull down and level all park pales, and lay open, and intend to
     plant there very shortly. They give out they will be four or five
     thousand within ten days, and threaten the neighbouring people
     there, that they will make them all come up to the hills and work:
     and forewarn them suffering their cattle to come near the
     plantation; if they do, they will cut their legs off. It is feared
     they have some design in hand.

                                                   "HENRY SANDERS.

     "_16 April 1649._"

The Council of State were sufficiently impressed by this letter to
forward it the same day to Lord Fairfax, the Lord General of the armed
forces of the Commonwealth, with the following despatch:


     "MY LORD,--By the narrative enclosed your Lordship will be informed
     of what relation hath been made to this Council of a disorderly and
     tumultuous sort of people assembling themselves together not far
     from Oatlands, at a place called St. George's Hill; and although
     the pretence of their being there by them avowed may seem very
     ridiculous, yet that conflux of people may be a beginning whence
     things of a greater and more dangerous consequence may grow, to the
     disturbance of the peace and quiet of the Commonwealth. We
     therefore recommend it to your Lordship's care that some force of
     horse may be sent to Cobham in Surrey and thereabouts, with orders
     to disperse the people so met, and to prevent the like for the
     future, that a malignant and disaffected party may not under colour
     of such ridiculous people have any opportunity to rendezvous
     themselves in order to do a greater mischief.

     "Signed in the name and by order of the Council of State
            appointed by authority of Parliament,

                                     "JOHN BRADSHAW, _President_.

     "DERBY HOUSE, _16th April 1649_.

      "For the Right Honourable
        THOMAS LORD FAIRFAX, Lord General."

Acting on his instructions, within a few days Lord Fairfax was in
possession of the following soldier-like letter from the active
republican officer to whom he had entrusted the business, and who
evidently was not so easily frightened as the Council of State:

     (Slightly Abridged.)

     "SIR,--According to your order I marched towards St. Georges Hill
     and sent four men before to bring certain intelligence to me; as
     they went they met with Mr. Winstanlie and Mr. Everard (which are
     the chief men that have persuaded these people to do what they have
     done). And when I had enquired of them and of the officers that lie
     at Kingston, I saw there was no need to march any further. I cannot
     hear that there have been above twenty of them together since they
     first undertook the business. Mr. Winstanlie and Mr. Everard have
     engaged both to be with you this day: I believe you will be glad to
     be rid of them again, especially Everard, who is no other than a
     mad man. Sir, I intend to go with two or three men to St. Georges
     Hill this day, and persuade these people to leave this employment
     if I can, and if then I see no more danger than now I do I shall
     march back again to London tomorrow.... Indeed the business is not
     worth the writing nor yet taking notice of: I wonder the Council of
     State should be so abused with informations....

                                                    "JO. GLADMAN.

     "KINGSTON, _April 19th, 1649_."

As they had undertaken, Winstanley and Everard duly appeared before
Lord Fairfax at Whitehall, and under date April 20th the following
account of their interview appears in the ponderous pages of Bulstrode
Whitelocke's _Memorial of English Affairs_:[37:1]

     "Everard and Winstanley, the chief of those that digged at St.
     George's Hill in Surrey, came to the General and made a large
     declaration to justify their proceedings.

     "Everard said he was of the race of the Jews, that all the
     liberties of the people were lost by the coming in of William the
     Conqueror, and that ever since the people of God had lived under
     tyranny and oppression worse than that of our forefathers under the

     "But now the time of deliverance was at hand, and God would bring
     his people out of this slavery, and restore them to their freedom
     in enjoying the fruits and benefits of the Earth.

     "And that there had lately appeared to him a vision, which bad him
     arise and dig and plough the earth, and receive the fruits thereof.

     "That their intent is to restore the Creation to its former
     condition. That as God had promised to make the barren land
     fruitful, so now what they did was to restore the ancient community
     of enjoying the fruits of the Earth, and to distribute the benefits
     thereof to the poor and needy, and to feed the hungry and to clothe
     the naked.

     "That they intend not to meddle with any man's property nor to
     break down any pales or enclosures, but only to meddle with what
     was common and untilled, and to make it fruitful for the use of
     man. That the time will suddenly be, when all men shall willingly
     come in and give up their lands and estates, and submit to this

     "And for all those that will come in and work they should have
     meat, drink, and clothes, which is all that is necessary to the
     life of man; and that for money, there was not any need of it, nor
     of clothes more than to cover nakedness.

     "That they will not defend themselves by arms, but will submit unto
     authority, and wait till the promised opportunity be offered, which
     they conceive to be at hand. And that as their forefathers lived in
     tents, so it would be suitable to their condition now to live in
     the same: and more to the like effect.

     "While they were before the General, they stood with their hats
     on; and being demanded the reason thereof, they said, 'Because he
     was but their fellow-creature.' Being asked the meaning of that
     place, 'Give honour to whom honour is due'; they said that their
     mouths should be stopped that gave them that offence."

     Whitelocke continues, "I have set down this the more largely
     because it was the beginning of the appearance of this opinion; and
     that we might the better understand and avoid these weak

"The germ of Quakerism and much else is curiously visible here," is
Carlyle's shrewd comment on the above incident. But as to how far this
account of the views of the Diggers is correct, we shall leave to the
judgement of those who read the pages that are to follow. Though we may
now believe that, save that he placed Norman in the place of the Saxon
Lords, William the Conqueror introduced but few innovations into the
laws and institutions of the country, the very opposite was the accepted
opinion in the days of Winstanley and his associates.[38:1] It may also
be well to mention here that, though Everard's name appears, and first
in order, amongst those who signed the pamphlet, _The True Levellers
Standard Advanced: or, The State of Community opened and presented to
the Sons of Men_, which bears date April 26th, 1649, and to which we
shall presently refer, it does not appear in any of the later
publications of the Diggers. Whether he died about this time or merely
dropped out of the movement, we have not been able to ascertain.

However this may be, Lord Fairfax appears to have been somewhat
impressed by his interview, to which the Diggers themselves always
referred in most cordial terms; for on his way from Guildford to London
the following month, he visited them at their work, of which visit we
take the following account from the pages of a contemporary and
evidently friendly news-sheet, dated May 31st, 1649:[39:1]

     "The SPEECHES of Lord General FAIRFAX and the Officers of the Army
     to the Diggers at St. George's Hill in Surrey, and the Diggers'
     several answers and replies thereunto.

     "As his Excellency the Lord General came from Gilford to London, he
     went to view the Diggers at St. George's Hill in Surrey, with his
     Officers and Attendants. They found about twelve of them hard at
     work, and amongst them one Winstanley was the chief speaker.
     Several questions were propounded by the Officers, and the Lord
     General made a short speech by way of admonition to them, and this
     Winstanley returned sober answers, though they gave little
     satisfaction (if any at all) in regard of the strangeness of their
     action. It was urged that the Commons were as justly due to the
     Lords as any other lands. They answered that these were Crown Lands
     where they digged, and the King who possessed them by the Norman
     Conquest being dead, they were returned again to the Common People
     of England, who might improve them if they would take the pains;
     that for those who would come dig with them, they should have the
     benefit equal with them, and eat of their bread; but they would not
     force any, applying to all the golden rule, to do to others as we
     would be done unto. Some Officers wished they had no further plot
     in what they did, and that no more was intended than what they did

     "As to the barrenness of the ground, which was objected as a
     discouragement, the Diggers answered they would use their
     endeavours, and leave the success to God, who had promised to make
     the barren ground fruitful. They carry themselves civilly and
     fairly in the country, and have the report of sober, honest men.
     Some barley is already come up, and other fruits formerly; but was
     pulled up by some of the envious inhabitants thereabouts, who are
     not so far convinced as to promise not to injure them for the
     future. The ground will probably in a short time yield them some
     fruit of their labour, how contemptible soever they do yet appear
     to be."

Before following the further adventures of the Diggers, as revealed in
the numerous pamphlets they left us, from which alone they can now be
gathered, we deem it best to lay before our readers what we have been
able to ascertain of Gerrard Winstanley's previous life's history and
writings. Behind every movement that has ever influenced the thoughts of
mankind, there is always some master-mind, a Lautze, a Gautama, a Jesus
of Nazareth, a Wiclif, a John Wesley, a Darwin, a Tolstoy, or a Henry
George; and it is in the comparatively unknown Gerrard Winstanley that
we shall find the master-mind, the inspirer and director, of the Digger
Movement. As Gardiner well says, "It is not only by the immediate
accomplishment of its aim that the value of honest endeavour is to be
tested." And the reader's interest in our work may be quickened if we so
far forestall the pages that are to follow as to indicate that not only
were Winstanley's earlier theological writings the source whence the
early Quakers, or the Children of Light, as they at first called
themselves, drew many of their most characteristic tenets and doctrines,
but that the fundamental principles which inspired and animated his
political writings were in all respects identical with those that during
the past quarter of a century have been so honourably associated with
the name of Henry George. We are not here called upon to pronounce
judgement on these principles; but in passing we shall endeavour to
point out how far the demands and doctrines of the Land Reformers of the
Seventeenth Century, as revealed in Winstanley's writings, coincide with
those of their successors in the Twentieth Century. In all cases we
shall, as far as possible, let Gerrard Winstanley speak for himself.


[34:1] _Clarke Papers_, vol. ii. p. 209. Bulstrode Whitelocke, then
already a member of the Council of State, in his _Memorial of English
Affairs_ (p. 396), under date April 17th, 1649, has an entry referring
to and summarising this letter.

[34:2] That is to say, a week last Sunday, or last Sunday week.

[35:1] _Loc. cit._ vol. ii. p. 210.

[36:1] _Loc. cit._ vol. ii. pp. 211-212.

[37:1] P. 397.

[38:1] A glance at the titles of John Hare's well-known pamphlets, the
work of a learned, prosaic, diffuse, moderate, and loyal writer,
suffices to show how widespread this jealousy and impatience of what he
terms Normanism was. One runs as follows:--"_St. Edwards Ghost or Anti
Normanism_: Being a pathetical Complaint and Motion, in the behalf of
our English Nation, against the grand yet neglected grievance
Normanism." Another, {3}"_Englands Proper and Only Way to an
Establishment in Honor, Freedom, Peace and Happiness_: Or the Norman
Yoke once more uncased, and the Necessity, Justice, and Present
Seasonableness of breaking it in pieces demonstrated, in Eight most
plain and true Propositions, with their proofs." The pamphlets are
interesting only as showing the prevalence of the idea that the
dishonour of the English Nation, and the slavery and impoverishment of
the masses of the English people, were due to Norman Laws and
institutions introduced by William the Conqueror.

[39:1] British Museum, Press Mark, E. 530.



     "Your word-divinity darkens knowledge. You talk of a body of
     Divinity, and of Anatomysing Divinity. O fine language! But when it
     comes to trial, it is but a husk without the kernel, words without
     life. The Spirit is in the hearts of the people whom you despise
     and tread under foot."--WINSTANLEY, _The New Law of Righteousness

Gerrard Winstanley, whose strange entry on the stately stage of English
History we have recorded in the previous chapter, was born at Wigan in
the County of Lancashire, on October 10th, 1609.[41:1] He was,
therefore, some ten years younger than his great contemporary Oliver
Cromwell (born 1599), one year the junior of the immortal Milton (born
1608), and some fifteen years older than George Fox (born 1624). Of his
earlier years we know nothing; but, to judge from many passages in his
writings, he appears to have received a good middle-class education, and
to have been brought up a dutiful follower of the Church as by law
established. When arrived at man's estate, he settled as a small trader
in London, of which City he probably became a freeman; for in a pamphlet
addressed to the City of London,[41:2] he claims to be "one of thy sons
by freedom." He then goes on to relate how, "by thy cheating sons in
the thieving art of buying and selling, and by the burdens of and for
the soldiery in the beginning of the war," he "had been beaten out of
both estate and trade," and had been forced "to accept of the good-will
of friends, crediting of me, to live a country life."

Those who have passed through a similar experience, who have been driven
from the comparatively comfortable middle-class life to the precarious
and comfortless existence of the vast majority of the toiling masses,
will readily realise that under such circumstances Winstanley's mind
would naturally be full of questionings such as might not have forced
themselves on his attention under more prosperous conditions. What was
the aim and object of that incessant struggle out of which he had just
emerged "beaten out of both estate and trade"? What made it necessary?
who really benefited by it? For whose benefit was the war being waged,
the burden of which had fallen so heavily upon him? How was it going to
advantage the masses of the people? Was it ever intended that it should
benefit them? was it possible that it should do so? Could any such
struggle be a means of delivering the great masses of the people, "the
younger brothers," out of the straits of poverty, with its attendant
train of ignorance, misery, vice, and crime, to which they had hitherto
been ruthlessly and hopelessly condemned? Was it, in truth, inevitable,
was it inherent in the very nature of things, was it God's intention
that a privileged few, "the elder brothers," should be lords and
masters, and that the great majority of mankind should for ever remain
the mere hewers of wood and drawers of water, the slaves and servants of
an insignificant minority of their fellow-creatures? Were these things
due to natural causes, to the inscrutable workings of a Divine
Providence; or were they but the necessary though unforeseen fruits of
mere man-made laws and institutions the existing generation had
inherited from a by-gone and ignorant past? Such were the questions
which vaguely and indistinctly may have passed, and, as we shall see,
did pass, through the active, original, philosophic and deeply religious
mind of Winstanley in the quiet solitude of his country life.

His life had drifted from its accustomed moorings; his troubles were
greater than he could bear; and when he turned to Religion for guidance
and consolation, alas! he found that the teachings he had imbibed in his
childhood, and never questioned in his manhood, now failed him in his
hour of need. Foiled, though not beaten, he turned to the pages of the
Holy Scriptures themselves for guidance and information, for consolation
and revelation. In these inspired writings, if anywhere, there surely
must be found some expression, some revelation, of God's intentions
towards His children, some indication of His holy will, which, if men
would wholly follow, would lead them down the path of righteousness to
happiness and peace. And it was from these pages that Winstanley derived
those religious and political convictions that find such eloquent and
forcible expression in his writings, and which he made such heroic
efforts to proclaim by word and deed to his fellow-men.

What seems to us to give a special charm to the study of Winstanley's
writings is that they reveal the gradual development of his acute and
powerful mind. His earlier pamphlets betray the influence of the
mysticism so prevalent in his days; his last utterance on theological
questions, as we shall see, might have been penned by an advanced
thinker of the present day, imbued with modern scientific views, and
recognising the necessary relation and co-ordination of all the physical
and psychical phenomena of the universe, "of the several bodies of the
stars and planets in the heavens above, and the several bodies of the
earth below, as plants, grass, fishes, beasts, birds, and mankind."

As to how far Winstanley owes the views that find expression in his
earlier pamphlets--which deal exclusively with cosmological or
theological speculations--to others, or to the writings of earlier
mystics, we have no means of knowing.[43:1] From them we gather,
however, that he had learned or had come to regard the whole Biblical
narrative as an allegory, of which he gives a most poetical
interpretation. The Creation is mankind. The Garden of Eden is the mind
of man, which he describes as originally filled with herbs and pleasant
plants, "as love, joy, peace, humility, delight, and purity of life."
The serpent he holds to be self-love, the forbidden fruit to be
"selfishness," following the promptings of which "the whole garden
becomes a stinking dunghill of weeds, and brings forth nothing but
pride, envy, discontent, disobedience, and the whole actings of the
spirit and power of darkness." And he argues that--"If the creature
should be honored in this condition, then God would be dishonored,
because his command would be broken.... And if the creature were utterly
lost ... then likewise God would suffer dishonor, because his work would
be spoiled." Hence he maintains that "the curse that was declared to
Adam was temporary," and that eventually the whole creation, the whole
of mankind, shall be saved, and "the work of God shall be restored from
this lost, dead, weedy and enslaved condition."[44:1]

Winstanley, however, regarded the word "God" as too vague satisfactorily
to denote the supreme spiritual power which pervades, upholds and
governs the whole universe. He had, he tells us, "been held in darkness
by that word, as I see many people are."[44:2] And so that neither he
nor others should "rest longer upon words without knowledge, but
hereafter may look upon that spiritual power, and know what it is that
rules them, which doth rule in and over all," he felt himself impelled
to conceive of and to refer to this spiritual power, which is God, as
"Reason." He contends that "though men may esteem the word Reason to be
too mean a name to set forth the Father by, yet it is the highest name
that can be given to Him. For it is Reason that made all things; and it
is Reason that governs the whole Creation. If flesh were but subject
thereunto, that is, to the Spirit of Reason within itself, it would
never act unrighteously.... For this Spirit of Reason is not without a
man, but within every man; hence he need not run after others to tell
him or to teach him; for this Spirit is his maker, he dwells in him, and
if the flesh were subject thereunto, he would daily find teaching
therefrom, though he dwelt alone and saw the face of no other
man."[45:1] "This is the Spirit, or Father, which as he made the Globe
and every creature, so he dwells in every creature, but supremely in
man. He it is by whom everyone lives, and moves, and hath his being.
Perfect man is the eye and face that sees and declares the Father: and
he is perfect when he is taken up in the Spirit and lives in the light
of Reason."[45:1] "Reason is that living Power of Light that is in all
things. It is the salt that savours all things. It is the fire that
burns up dross, and so restores what is corrupted, and preserves what is
pure. He is the Lord our Righteousness. It lies in the bottom of love,
of justice, of wisdom: for if the Spirit Reason did not uphold and
moderate these, they would be madness; nay, they could not be called by
their names, for Reason guides them in order and leads them to their
right end, which is not to preserve a part, but the whole

The reason of man, Winstanley regarded but as an emanation of the Divine
Spirit Reason, as the one true Inward Light, which if men would only and
wholly follow would lead them to live in peace and harmony, and in
accordance with the Divine Spirit. "Man's reasoning," he says,[45:2] "is
a creature which flows from that Spirit to this end, to draw up man into
himself. It is but a candle lighted by that soul, and this light,
shining through flesh, is darkened by the imagination of the flesh. So
that many times men act contrary to reason, though they think they act
according to Reason.... The Spirit Reason, which I call God, the Maker
and Ruler of all things, is that spiritual power that guides all men's
reasoning in right order, and to a right end ... and knite every
creature together into a oneness, making every creature to be an
upholder of his fellows; and so everyone is an assistant to preserve the
whole. And the nearer man's reasoning comes to this, the more spiritual
they are; the further off they be, the more selfish and fleshy they be."

Winstanley took care to point out,[46:1] however, that "this word Reason
is not the alone name of this spiritual power; but everyone may give him
a name according to that spiritual power that they feel and see rules in
them, carrying them forth in actions to preserve their fellow-creatures
as well as themselves. Therefore some may call him King of
Righteousness, or Prince of Peace; some may call him Love, and the like.
But I can and I do call him Reason, because I see him to be that living,
powerful light that is in righteousness, making righteousness to be
righteousness, or justice to be justice, or love to be love. For without
this moderator and ruler they would be madness; nay, the self-willedness
of the flesh, and not what we call them."[46:1]

But, he warns his readers,[46:2] "truly let me tell you, that you cannot
say the Spirit, Reason, is your God, till you see and feel by experience
that the Spirit doth govern your flesh. For if Envy be the Lord that
rules your flesh, if Pride and Covetousness rule your flesh, then is
Envy, Covetousness, or Pride your God. If you fear man so greatly that
you dare not do righteously for fear of angering men, then slavish fear
is your God. If rash anger govern your flesh, then is anger your God.
Therefore deceive not yourselves, but let Reason work within you; and
examine and see what your flesh is subject to. For whatever doth govern
in you, that is your God."

Winstanley's characteristic theological doctrines were, then, the
realisation of the function and importance of the Inward Light, of
Reason, which he regarded as the necessary and all-sufficient guide for
human conduct; his keen appreciation of silence as the necessary
precursor of all real prayer, if not as in itself a form of worship;
and his intense conviction of the ultimate salvation of the whole of
mankind. To Winstanley, Reason is the Ruling Spirit of the whole
Creation, is God, the Spirit of Righteousness, who is ever seated within
the hearts of men combating the lusts of the flesh, the promptings of
the brute animal nature of mankind. Disobedient man may know him not,
because covetous flesh, the promptings of self-love, hath deceived him,
and "so he looks abroad for a God, and so doth imagine or fancy a God in
some particular place of glory beyond the skies; or else, if men do look
for a God within them, yet are they led by the notions of King Flesh,
and not of King Spirit."[47:1] Reason, in short, is the spark of the
Divine in man, the Spirit of Light that dwells within and may rule the
mind and actions of every man. Conscience is but the promptings of
Reason, inspiring men to right action, to deal justly and brotherly and
to live in peaceful and harmonious association with their fellows.
Self-love, covetousness, the desire of the flesh, is ever the enemy of
Reason. And life is but a continuous struggle between these two powers
for dominion in the Creation, over the hearts and actions of mankind.
Self-love ruling the hearts of man, is the Adam that causes him to sin,
not the crime of the man Adam who lived so many thousand years ago. And
similarly it is the ruling of the spirit of Jesus Christ, the Inward
Light, within the hearts of man, not the sufferings of a man Christ
Jesus, which is the essential condition of individual and social
salvation. "This is the lightning that shall spread from East to West.
This is the Kingdom of Heaven within you, dwelling and ruling in your
flesh. Therefore learn to know Jesus Christ as the Father knows him;
that is, not after the flesh; but know that the Spirit within the flesh
is that mighty man Christ Jesus. He within governs the flesh; he within
laid down the flesh, when he was said to die; he within is to arise, not
at a distance from man, but he will rise up in men, and manifest himself
to be the light and life of every man and woman that is saved by
him."[47:2] By following the desires of the flesh, the promptings of
selfish covetousness, we can never gain true happiness, which is Heaven,
for the voice of Reason within us, of our conscience, or the Inward
Light illumining the inner darkness, will upbraid{4} us and cast us into
Hell within us. True happiness, complete satisfaction, which is Heaven,
can only be gained by following the dictates of Reason, by following the
promptings of the Inward Light. Thus to Winstanley, as to Tolstoy, the
Kingdom of Heaven, as well as the kingdom of hell, is within men's
minds, and "there is no other."[48:1] Everything that happens, however,
is ordained, or rather permitted, by God the Father, "the Ruling Spirit
of the Whole Creation," for His own ends. He controls the Spirits or
Powers we call evil, as well as those we call good: all work in
accordance with His commands, to further His ends. In Winstanley's
philosophy, unlike that of Luther, there was no room for an independent
Devil. Though in our blindness we may attribute our sufferings to such a
personage, yet whatever happens to a man is somehow or other for his own
good, though in an unregenerate state we may not realise this. All
suffering, in truth, does but tend to purify the soul from the lust of
the flesh, to enable the Inward Light to overcome the inward darkness,
to enable Reason to overcome Self-Love, good to overcome evil: and thus
to lead men to God. In the end, in the day of Judgement, the good will
triumph, Reason will cast out Covetousness, Universal Love will cast out
Self Love, meekness will cast out pride, righteousness will cast out
unrighteousness: and all men made perfect by the Inward Light, the
Spirit of Christ within them, will rejoice in the knowledge and glory of

It is almost impossible to read Winstanley's earlier theological
pamphlets without being struck by the similarity in thought and doctrine
with those to-day still held by the Society of Friends, or Quakers,
whose original name amongst themselves, be it remembered, was the
Children of Light. And it is interesting to note that during the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the opponents of the Quakers
repeatedly taunted them with being disciples of Winstanley the
Leveller.[49:1] Thus the Right Reverend Thomas Coomber, Dean of Durham,
in a pamphlet significantly entitled _Christianity no Enthusiasm: Or the
several kinds of inspiration and Revelation pretended to by the Quakers
tried and found destructive to Holy Scripture and True Religion_,
published in 1678, wrote as follows:

     "First for their original, it may seem more difficult to discover,
     where Sects are not called after their Founder, but after some
     property, etc., it may be harder to trace them to their head. In
     1652 their beginning is supposed, and then abouts they were so
     called and known. John Whitehead fixes it in the year 1648;[49:2]
     and Hubberthorne in 1660 told the King that they were then twelve
     years standing.[49:3] In that black year to these kingdoms (1648)
     their pretended light appeared.[50:1] ... But the very draughts and
     even body of Quakerism are to be found in the several works of
     Gerrard Winstanley, a zealous Leveller, wherein he tells us of the
     arising of new times and dispensations, and challengeth Revelation
     very much for what he writ."

Coomber proceeds to quote from every one of Winstanley's theological
pamphlets, and then continues:

     "That these are the Quaker principles is well enough known,
     allowing for some little alterations, as few Sect-Masters but have
     their doctrines varied by their Proselytes.... Now, considering
     these opinions, the year, the country[50:2] (as _The Mystery of
     God_ is dedicated to his "beloved countrymen of the County of
     Lancaster"), the printer Giles Calvert, and that several Levellers
     settled into Quakers, we incline to take them for Winstanley's
     Disciples and a branch of the Levellers. And what this man writes
     of--levelling men's estates, of taking in of Commons, that none
     should have more ground than he was able to till and husband by
     his labour--proving unpracticable by reason of so many tough old
     laws which had fixed propriety; yet it is pursued by the Quakers as
     much as they well can, in thouing everybody, in denying Titles,
     Civil Respects, and terms of distinction among men, and at first
     they were for Community."

If Winstanley's writings be really the source whence the early Quakers,
the Children of Light, drew their most characteristic tenets and
doctrines, as we ourselves do not doubt, then surely his noble ambition
has been satisfied: for through them he has, indeed, influenced the
thought of his country, the thought of the whole world, which owes more
than we even yet realise to their pure and altruistic teachings.
However, leaving this most interesting question to be decided by our
readers, each for himself, we shall now place the chief contents of
these writings before them, using as far as possible Winstanley's own


[41:1] Both Gerrard and Winstanley are common names in that part of
Lancashire which lies between Wigan and Liverpool. In the Wigan Parish
Register there is an entry under the above date--"Gerrard Winstanlie,
son of Edward Winstanlie." The first pamphlet he wrote, _The Mystery of
God concerning the whole Creation_, is dedicated "To my beloved
countrymen of the County of Lancaster." In his time the term
"countrymen" had a more contracted meaning than now, and implied a
common nativity of a Shire or Parish: indeed it still has this meaning
in some parts of Cheshire.

[41:2] _A Watchword to the City of London._

[43:1] Between the years 1644-1662 the works of the German mystic Jakob
Boehme were translated into English. All Winstanley's theological
pamphlets were published in the year 1648-1649, to which year the origin
of the Quaker doctrines is generally attributed.

[44:1] See _The Mystery of God concerning the whole Creation, Mankind_.
British Museum, Press Mark, 4377, a. 1. The whole pamphlet consists of
some 69 closely printed pages.

[44:2] _Truth lifting up its Head above Scandals._ British Museum, Press
Mark, 4372, a.a. 17.

[45:1] _The Saint's Paradise._ British Museum, Press Mark, E. 2137.

[45:2] _Truth lifting up its Head above Scandals._

[46:1] _Truth lifting up its Head above Scandals._

[46:2] _The Saint's Paradise._

[47:1] _The Saint's Paradise._

[47:2] "That which the people called Quakers lay down as a main
fundamental in religion, is this, that God, through Christ, hath placed
a principle in every man, to inform him of his duty, and to enable him
to do it; and that those who live up to this principle, are the people
of God; and that those who live in disobedience to it, are not God's
people, whatever name they bear, or profession they may make of
religion.... By this principle they understand something that is Divine,
and though in man, not of man, but of God; it came from Him and leads to
Him all those who will be led by it ... it is the spirit given to every
man to profit withal."--William Penn, _Primitive Christianity Revived_
(1696). Quoted from J. S. Rowntree's _The Society of Friends; its Faith
and Practice_.

[48:1] Speaking of the early Quakers, Cotton Mather, after attributing
the origin of this sect "to some fanatics here in our town of Salem,"
describes the principles of "the old Foxian Quakerism" as follows:
"There is in every man a certain excusing and condemning _principle_,
which indeed is nothing but some _remainder_ of the Divine Image left by
the compassion of God upon the conscience of man after his fall.... They
scoffed at our imagined God beyond the stars." He also contends that
"the new turn such ingenuous men as Mr. Penn" had given to Quakerism,
had made of it "quite a new thing." See his _History of New England_,
book vii. chap. iv.

[49:1] The Rev. Thos. Bennet, on p. 4 of _An Answer to the Dissenters'
Pleas for Separation_, published in 1711, referring to the origin of the
various sorts of dissenters, speaks of the time "when Winstanley
published the principles of Quakerism, and enthusiasm broke out." In a
footnote he mentions _The Saint's Paradise_.

[49:2] Gerard Croese in _The General History of the Quakers_, published
1696, says, "The Quakers themselves date their first rise from the
forty-ninth year of the present century."

[49:3] See _An account of what passed between the King and Richard
Hubberthorne, after the delivery of George Fox his letter to the King_,
which is to be found amongst Thomasson's Pamphlets, British Museum.

[50:1] As our readers will notice, all Winstanley's theological writings
were written and published in 1648-1649. The Preface to _Truth Lifting
up its Head above Scandals_ is dated October 16th, 1648; _The Saint's
Paradise_ bears no date, but was certainly written before _The New Law
of Righteousness_, the Preface to which is dated January 26th, 1648
(1649). (At that time the New Year commenced on March 26th.)

[50:2] Coomber had already pointed out that Quakerism arose in the North
of England, and mainly in Winstanley's native county of Lancashire. His
reference to Giles Calvert, the printer, is also most suggestive; for
Calvert published almost all Winstanley's pamphlets, and later was one
of the first authorised publishers of the official publications of the
Society of Friends. Calvert's establishment seems to have been the
source, as well as the depository, of much of the advanced literature of
his times. In his _Protest against Toleration of Printing Pamphlets
against Non-Conformists_, Baxter refers to it as follows: "Let all the
Apothecaries of London have liberty to keep open shop. But O do not
under that pretence let a man keep an open shop of poisons for all that
will destroy themselves freely, as Giles Calvert doth for Soul-poisons."
Calvert was suspected of having provided the funds for one of the later
risings of the Fifth Monarchy Men. He subsequently joined the Quakers.



     "There is nothing more sweet and satisfactory to a man than this,
     to know and feel that spiritual power of righteousness to rule in
     him which he calls God.... Wait upon the Lord for teaching. You
     will never have rest in your soul till He speaks in you. Run after
     men for teaching, follow your forms with strictness, you will still
     be at a loss, and be more and more wrapped up in confusion and
     sorrow of heart. But when once your heart is made subject to
     Christ, the Law of Righteousness, looking up to Him for
     instruction, waiting with a meek and quiet spirit till He appear in
     you: then you shall have peace; then you shall know the truth, and
     the truth shall make you free."--_The New Law of Righteousness_.

_The Mystery of God concerning the whole Creation, Mankind_, is the
title of Winstanley's first published pamphlet, to which we have already
referred, and which was written early in the year 1648, probably in
April or May. As already mentioned, it opens with a Dedicatory Epistle
to "My beloved countrymen of the County of Lancaster," in which he first
apologises for venturing into print in the following suggestive words:
"Dear countrymen, when some of you see my name subscribed to this
ensuing discourse, you may wonder at it, and it may be despise me in
your hearts ... but know that God's works are not like men's; He does
not always take the wise, the learned, the rich of the world to manifest
Himself in, and through them to others, but He chooses the despised, the
unlearned, the poor, the nothings of the world, and fills them with the
good tidings of Himself, whereas He sends the others empty away." He
further apprehends that his view, that "the curse that was declared to
Adam was temporary," and that ultimately the curse shall be removed off
the whole Creation, and the whole of mankind shall be saved, will not
be favourably received by those whom he is specially addressing. But he
avows it a necessary truth, and concludes his appeal by saying that
since the pamphlet was written he had met with "more Scripture to
confirm it, so that it is not a spirit of private fancy, but it is
agreeable to the Written Word."

The pamphlet opens with Winstanley's interpretation of the story of the
fall of Adam, the outline of which we have already given. Subsequently
he describes his own experiences: how he lay under bondage to the
serpent self-love, and saw not his bondage; how God had manifested His
love to him by causing him to see that the things in which he did take
pleasure were, in truth, his death and his shame. He again repeats his
contention that in due time God will not lose any of His work, but
redeem "His own whole Creation to Himself." Though this, he holds, will
not be done all at once, but in several dispensations, "some whereof are
passed, some in being, and some yet to come." He quotes largely from the
Scriptures, more especially from Revelation, in support of this view;
and argues most vehemently against the objection that if this were true,
if eventually all will be saved, then men need not trouble about their
own individual salvation. He also protests against the doctrine of an
everlasting Hell, as unconfirmed by the Holy Scriptures, as destructive
of God's work, and as incompatible with His great goodness.

The prevalence of the belief in dispensations, past, present, and
future, may be gathered from the following extract from one of
Cromwell's speeches to the Army Council, November 1st, 1647: "Truly, as
Lieut. Col. Goffe said, God hath in several ages used several
dispensations, and yet some dispensations more eminently in one age than
another. I am one of those whose heart God hath drawn out to wait for
some extraordinary dispensations, according to those promises He hath
set forth of things to be accomplished in the latter time, and I cannot
but think that God is beginning of them."[53:1]

The same idea reappears, in fact influences the whole of Winstanley's
second pamphlet, of some 127 closely printed duodecimo pages, as might
almost be inferred from its title, _The Breaking of the Day of
God_,[54:1] which is in itself a revelation of its main contents. The
Dedicatory Epistle, which is dated May 20th, 1648, some twelve months
prior to the outbreak of the Digger Movement, already recorded, is the
most interesting and suggestive portion of this long, wearisome, and
almost unreadable volume. It is addressed to--"The Despised Sons and
Daughters of Zion, scattered up and down the Kingdom of England." He
first reminds them that "they are the object of the world's hatred and
reproach," "branded as wicked ones," "threatened with ruin and death,"
"the object of every one's laughter and reproach," "sentenced to be put
to death under the name of round-heads," and so on. That they "are
counted the troublers of Kingdoms and Parishes where they dwell, though
the truth is that they are the only peaceable men in the Kingdom, who
love the People's peace, the Magistrate's peace, and the Kingdom's
peace." He continues--"But what's the reason the world doth so storm at
you, but because you are not of this world, nor cannot walk in the dark
ways of the world. They hated your Lord Jesus Christ, and they hate you.
They knew not Him, and they know not you. For if they had known Him,
they would not have crucified Him; and if they did truly know the power
of the God that dwells in you, they would not so despise you." "But,
well," he goes on to say, "these things must be. It is your Father's
will that it shall be so; the world must lie under darkness for a time;
that is God's dispensation to them. And you that are the Children of
Light must lie under the reproach and oppression of the world;[54:2]
that is God's dispensation to you. But it shall be but for a little
time. What I have here to say is to bring you glad tidings that your
redemption draws near."

In the pamphlet itself Winstanley attempts to prove that the coming
reign of Righteousness, and the overthrow of the Covetous, Self-Seeking
Power, are entirely in accordance with the prophesies of the Scriptures,
more especially with Revelation and John. In its final pages he
vehemently protests against the continued union of Church and State, or
rather against the continued upholding of the persecuting power of the
Church by the secular authorities. "The misery of the age" he attributes
to the fact that men are still striving "to uphold the usurped
Ecclesiastical Power, which God never made," and that in upholding this
they are "so mad and ignorant" as "to count Magistracie no government
unless the Beast reign cheek by chaw with it, as formerly in the days of
ignorance." This, however, he contends, should not be so, "for
Magistracie in the Commonwealth must stand, it's God's ordinance. But
this Ecclesiastical power in and over the Saints must fall." "This
Ecclesiastical power," he contends, "hath been a great troubler of
Magistracie ever since the deceived Magistracie set it up." The function
of Magistracie, "which is God's Ordinance," is "to be a terror to the
wicked, and to protect them that do well; whereas by this Ecclesiastical
power, established by deceived Magistracie, the sincere in heart that
worship God in spirit and truth, according as God hath taught them and
they understand, these are and have been troubled in Sessions, in
Courts, and punished by fine and prisons. But the loose-hearted that
will be of any religion that the most is of, these have their liberty
without restraint. And so Magistracie hath acted quite backward, in
punishing them that do well, and protecting in a hypocritical liberty
them that do evil. O that our Magistrates would let Church-work alone to
Christ, upon whose shoulders they shall find the government lies, and
not upon theirs. And then, in the wisdom and strength of Christ, they
would govern Commonwealths in justice, love, and righteousness more

This pamphlet concludes with the following wise and beautiful thought:

     "All that I shall say in conclusion is this: Wait patiently upon
     the Lord; let every man that loves God endeavour by the spirit of
     wisdom, meekness, and love to dry up Euphrates, even this spirit of
     bitterness, that like a great river hath overflowed the earth of
     mankind. For it is not revenge, prisons, fines, fightings, that
     will subdue a tumultuous spirit; but a soft answer, love and
     meekness, tenderness and justice, to do as we would be done unto:
     this will appease wrath. When this Sun of Righteousness and Love
     arises in Magistrates and people, one to another, then these
     tumultuous national storms will cease, and not till then. This Sun
     is risen in some; this Sun will rise higher, and must rise higher;
     and the bright shining of it will be England's liberty."

The next fruit of Winstanley's prolific pen is a volume of some 134
closely printed pages, entitled _The Saint's Paradise: Or the Father's
Teaching the only Satisfaction to Waiting Souls_,[56:1] from which in
the previous chapter we have already quoted somewhat freely. The words
on its title-page, "The inward testimony is the Soul's strength,"
indicate the characteristic teachings of this remarkable book, which are
also admirably suggested by the two biblical quotations that also appear
thereon. "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and
every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know
me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord"
(Jer. xxxi. 34). "But the annointing which ye have received of him
abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same
annointing teacheth you all things, and is truth" (1 John ii. 27).

As was his usual custom, Winstanley opens with a Dedicatory letter,
addressed this time "To my Beloved Friends whose Souls hunger after
sincere milk," in which he relates his experience of the insufficiency
of mere traditional, or book, or imparted knowledge, in the following

     "I myself have known nothing but what I received in tradition from
     the mouths and pen of others. I worshipped a God, but I neither
     knew who he was nor where he was, so that I lived in the dark,
     being blinded by the imagination of my flesh.... I spoke of the
     name of God, and Lord, and Christ, but I knew not this Lord, God,
     and Christ. I prayed to a God, but I knew not where he was nor what
     he was, and so walking by imagination I worshipped the devil, and
     called him God. By reason whereof my comforts were often shaken to
     pieces, and at last it was shown to me, that while I builded upon
     any words or writings of other men, or while I looked after a God
     without me, I did but build upon the sand, and as yet I knew not
     the Rock."

He then admonishes his friends that, though they may not as yet be aware
of it, and though they will probably be offended with him for saying so,
yet that, in reality, "this ignorant, unsettled condition is yours at
this time." However, he protests that nevertheless:

     "I do not write anything as to be a teacher of you, for I know you
     have a teacher within yourselves (which is the Spirit) and when
     your flesh is made subject to him, he will teach you all things,
     and bring all things to your remembrance, so that you shall not
     need to run after men for instruction, for, your eyes being opened,
     you shall see the King of Righteousness sit upon the throne within
     yourselves, judging and condemning the unrighteousness of the
     flesh, filling your face with shame, and your soul with horror,
     though no man see or be acquainted with your actions or thoughts
     but yourselves, and justifying your righteous thoughts and actions,
     and leading you into all ways of truth."

Winstanley then further explains that the Father, the Spirit of
Righteousness, of Reason, pervades the whole Universe, and "dwells in
every creature, but supremely in man," and then continues:

     "Truly, Friends, the King of Righteousness within you is a meek,
     patient, and quiet spirit, and full of love and sincerity.... And
     when you come to know, feel, and see that the Spirit of
     Righteousness governs your flesh, then you begin to know your God,
     to fear your God, to love your God, and to walk humbly before your
     God, and so to rejoice in Him. Therefore if you would have the
     peace of God, as you call it, you must know what God it is you
     serve, which is not a God without you, visible among bodies, but
     the Spirit within you, invisible in every body to the eye of flesh,
     yet discernible to the eye of the spirit. And when souls shall have
     communion with that spirit, then they have peace, and not till

In the first chapter Winstanley emphasises the essential difference
between the teachings of men and the teachings of God in the following

     "The teachings of men and the teachings of God are much different.
     The former being but the light of the moon, which shines not of
     itself, but by the means and through the help of the sun. The
     latter is the light of the sun, which gives light to all, not by
     means and helps from others, but immediately from himself.

     "Men's teachings are twofold. First, when men speak to others what
     they have heard or read of the Scriptures, or books of other men's
     writings, and have seen nothing from God Himself.... Secondly,
     others speak from their own experience, of what they have heard and
     seen from God, and of what great things God hath done for their
     souls.... It is very possible that a man may attain to a literal
     knowledge of the Scriptures, of the Prophets and Apostles, and may
     speak largely of the history thereof, and yet both they that speak
     and they that hear may be not only unacquainted with, but enemies
     to that Spirit of truth by which the Prophets and Apostles
     writ.[58:1] "For it is not the Apostles' writings, but the spirit
     that dwelt in them, that did inspire their hearts, which gives life
     and peace to all."

In the second chapter Winstanley consoles those whom he is specially
addressing by expressing his conviction that though their enemies may
think to kill all the Saints, and though God may suffer them to kill
some, yet others of them will necessarily be preserved to keep alive
their beliefs and to spread abroad their teachings, of the ultimate
triumph of which he never seemed to doubt. However, in view of the
perplexity of the times and of the dangers by which they were
surrounded, he gave them the following somewhat worldly-wise
advice--"For the appearance of God now is in the Saints that they
worship the Father in spirit and truth in such a secret manner as the
eye of the world cannot and does not always see": a practice of which,
as we have already noticed, the adherents of the Family of Love were
accused in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

It is, however, in the fourth and fifth chapters that Winstanley
concisely and eloquently summarises the fundamental articles of his
religious faith. In them he again emphatically warns his fellows against
looking to others for knowledge of Divine revelations, and strongly
advises them to look into their own hearts. In support of this view he
quotes the Scripture text--"Light is come into the world, and men love
darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil" (John iii.
19), which he then proceeds to explain as follows:

     "The world is mankind; and every particular man and woman is a
     perfect creation of himself, a perfect created world. If a
     particular branch of mankind desire to know what the nature of
     other men and women are, let him not look abroad, but into his own
     heart, and he shall see. So that I say, man is the world, a perfect
     creation, from whose poisoned flesh proceeds the lust of the eye,
     the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life: these are not of the
     Father. Now _light is come into the world_; that is, the Spirit of
     Right Understanding hath taken up his dwelling in this flesh. Hence
     man is called a reasonable creature, which is a name given to no
     other creature but man, because the Spirit of Reason appears acting
     in him, which if men did submit themselves unto, they would act
     righteously continually: and so man would become lord of all other
     creatures in righteousness.... But the masculine powers of the
     poisoned flesh stand it out against the King of Glory till He cast
     them into the lake of fire, into His own spirit, by which they are
     tried, and, being found but chaff and not able to endure, are
     burned and consumed to nothing in the flame."

"No man or woman, however, need be troubled at this," Winstanley
contends, "for let every man cleanse himself of these wicked powers that
rule in him, and there speedily will be a harmony of love in the great
creation, even among all creatures. Therefore let no man look without
himself, and say, other men will not obey this light that is come into
mankind; but let him look into his own heart, and he shall find that the
powers in his heart are those very men of the world that will not submit
to that Light of Reason that is come into it."[60:1]

Winstanley then proceeds to explain his conception of the resurrection
of Christ, as follows:

     "Friends, do not mistake the resurrection of Christ. You expect
     that he shall come in one single person, as he did when he came to
     suffer and die, and thereby to answer the types of Moses' Law. Let
     me tell you that if you look for him under the notion of one single
     man after the flesh, to be your Saviour, you shall never, never
     taste salvation by him.... If you expect or look for the
     resurrection of Jesus Christ, you must know that the Spirit within
     the flesh is the Jesus Christ, and you must see, feel, and know
     from himself his own resurrection within you, if you expect life
     and peace by him. For he is the Life of the World, that is, of
     every particular son and daughter of the Father ... for everyone
     hath the Light of the Father within himself, which is the mighty
     man Christ Jesus. And he is now rising and spreading himself in
     these his sons and daughters, and so rising from one to many
     persons till he enlighten the whole creation (mankind) in every
     branch of it, and cover this earth with knowledge as the waters
     cover the sea.... And this is to be saved by Jesus Christ; for that
     mighty man of spirit hath taken up his habitation within your
     body; and your body is his body, and now his spirit is your spirit,
     and so you are become one with him and with the Father. This is the
     faith of Christ, when your flesh is subject to the Spirit of
     Righteousness, as the flesh of Christ was subject. And this is to
     believe in Christ, when the actings and breathings of your soul are
     within the centre of the same spirit in which the man Jesus Christ
     lived, acted, and breathed."

In accordance with this profound, philosophic, and truly spiritual view,
Winstanley found it incumbent upon him to warn his fellows against
another generally held belief, as follows:

     "So that you do not look for a God now, as formerly you did, to be
     a place of glory beyond the sun, moon, and stars, nor imagine a
     Divine Being you know not where; but you see Him ruling within you;
     and not only in you, but you see and know Him to be the Spirit or
     Power that dwells in every man and woman, yea, in every creature,
     according to his orb, within the globe of the Creation. So that now
     you see and feel and taste the sweetness of the Spirit ruling in
     your flesh, who is the Lord and King of Glory in the whole
     Creation, and you have community with Him who is the Father of all
     things. Now you are enlightened; now you are saved, and rise higher
     and higher into life and peace, as this manifestation of the Father
     increases and spreads within you."[61:1]

As was only to be expected, the publication of the above pamphlets
brought Winstanley into disrepute with the orthodox Ministers of the
Church, who accused him of denying God, Christ, Scripture, and the
Ordinances of God. This accusation gave rise to Winstanley's next
pamphlet, of some 77 well-printed duodecimo pages, the preface to which
is dated October 16th, 1648, and which bears the significant
title--_Truth lifting its Head above Scandals_.[62:1] In this volume
Winstanley indignantly denies such a charge, and makes use of the
opportunity to restate his views even more clearly than he had
previously done. The book opens with a dedicatory letter addressed "To
the Scholars of Oxford and Cambridge, and to all that call themselves
Ministers of the Gospel in City or Country," in which he carries the war
into his enemy's camp in a forcible and masterly manner. He reminds them
that they are not the only ones who have the right to judge of the
meaning of the Scriptures, "For the people, having the Scriptures, may
judge by them as well as you." He then continues:

     "If you say, 'No, the people cannot judge, because they know not
     the original:' I answer, Neither do you know the original. Though
     by your learning you may be able to translate a writing out of
     Hebrew or Greek into our mother-tongue, English, but to say this is
     the original Scripture you cannot: for those very copies which the
     Prophets and Apostles writ are not to be seen in your

He forces home his argument in the following words:

     "You say you have the just copies of their writings. You do not
     know that but as your Fathers have told you, which may be as well
     false as true, if you have no other better ground than tradition.
     You say that the interpretation of Scripture into our mother tongue
     is according to the mind of the _spirit_. You cannot tell that
     neither, unless you are able to say that those who did interpret
     those writings have had the same testimony of spirit as the pen-men
     of Scripture had. For it is the spirit within that must prove these
     copies to be true."

He then turns the tables by accusing them of being "the very men that do
deny God, Scriptures, and the Ordinances of God; and that turn the
truths of the Spirit into a lie, by leaving the letter, and walking in
their own inferences"; and also "by holding forth spiritual things by
the imagination of the flesh, and not by the law and testimony of the
Spirit within." And he contends that, in truth, he and his fellows are
"those men that do advance God, Christ, Scriptures, and Ordinances in
the spirituality of them."

In the opening chapter of the book itself, Winstanley, with more than
his usual directness, plunges into the heart of his subject in the
following suggestive words:

     "I have said that whosoever worships God by hearsay, as others tell
     him, and knows not what God is from light within himself; or that
     thinks God is in the heavens above the skies, and so prays to that
     God which he imagines to be there and everywhere, but from any
     testimony within, he knows not how nor where: this man worships his
     own imagination, which is the Devil. But he who is a true
     worshipper must know who God is and how He is to be worshipped,
     from the Power of Light shining within him, if ever he have true

     "Hence," he continues, "a report is raised, and is frequent in the
     mouth of the teachers, that I deny God. Therefore, first, I shall
     give account of what I see and know Him to be; and let the
     understanding in heart judge me."

Winstanley then endeavours to formulate his theistic views and beliefs
in a series of questions and answers, from which we feel compelled to
quote the following:

     "_Q._ What is God?

     "_A._ I answer, He is the incomprehensible Spirit Reason;[63:1]
     who as He willed the Creation should flow out of Him, so He
     governs the whole Creation in righteousness, peace, and moderation.
     And He is called the Father, because as the whole Creation comes
     out of Him, so He is the life of the whole Creation, by whom every
     creature doth subsist.

     "_Q._ When can a man call the Father his God?

     "_A._ When he feels and sees, by experience, that the Spirit which
     made the flesh doth govern and rule king in his flesh. And so can
     say, I rejoice to feel and see my flesh made subject to the Spirit
     of Righteousness.

     "_Q._ But may not a man call Him God till he have this experience?

     "_A._ No: for if he do, he lies, and there is no truth in him. For
     whatsoever rules as king in his flesh, that is his God....

     "_Q._ But I hope that the Father is my Governor, and therefore may
     I not call Him God?

     "_A._ Hope without ground is the hope of the hypocrite. Thou canst
     not call Him God till thou be able in pure experience to say thy
     flesh is subject to Him. For if thy knowledge be no more but
     imagination or thoughts, it is of the Devil, and not of the Father.
     Or if thy knowledge be merely from what thou hast read or heard
     from others, it is of the flesh, not of the spirit.

     "_Q._ When then may I call him God, or the Mighty Governor, and not
     deceive myself?

     "_A._ When thou art by that Spirit made to see Him rule and govern,
     not only in thee but in the whole creation.... Wait upon Him till
     He teach thee. All that read do not understand; the Spirit only
     sees truth, and lives in it."

Winstanley subsequently explains his views at considerable length. True
knowledge, he contends, comes from within, not from without. "The whole
Scriptures," he maintains, "are but a report of spiritual mysteries held
forth to the eye of the flesh in words." The Gospel he explains to be
"the Father Himself, that is, the Word and glad tidings that speak peace
inwardly to pure souls." The writings of the Apostles and the Prophets
he regards as "the report or declaration of the Gospel, which are to
cease when the Lord Himself, who is the everlasting Gospel, doth
manifest Himself to rule in the flesh of sons and daughters." Concerning
Baptism he says: "I have gone through the ordinance of dipping, which
the letter of the Scripture doth warrant, yet I do not press anyone
thereunto, but bid everyone to wait upon the Father, till He teach and
persuade, and then their submitting will be sound. For I see now that it
is not the material water, but the water of life; that is, the Spirit in
which souls are to be dipped, and so drawn forth into the one Spirit;
and all these outward customs and forms are to cease and pass
away."[65:1] As regards prayer, he contends that no one should pray
"until the Power within thee gives words to thy mouth to utter, then
speak, and thou canst not but speak."[65:2]

It is, however, in a subsequent pamphlet, _The New Law of
Righteousness_, that Winstanley more fully expounds this characteristic
Quaker doctrine, and summarises his deeply philosophic views concerning
silence as the necessary precursor of all true prayer, as follows:

     "All these declare the half-hour's silence that is to be in Heaven
     (Rev. viii. 1). For all mouths are to be stopped by the power of
     Reason's law shining within the heart. And this abundance of talk
     that is amongst people by arguments, by disputes, by declaring
     expositions upon others' word and writing, by long discourse,
     called preaching, shall all cease (Jer. xxxi. 34).

     "Some shall not be able to speak, they shall be struck silent with
     shame by seeing themselves in a loss and in confusion. Neither
     shall they care to speak till they know by experience within
     themselves what to speak; but wait with a quiet silence upon the
     Lord, till He break forth within their hearts, and give them words
     and power to speak.... Men must leave off teaching one another,
     and the eyes of all shall look upward to the Father, to be taught
     of Him. And at this time silence shall be a man's rest and liberty;
     it is the gathering time, the soul's receiving time: it is the
     forerunner of pure language.... He that speaks from the original
     light within can truly say, I know what I say, and I know whom I

Somewhat later he continues:

     "None shall need to turn over books and writings (for indeed all
     these shall cease too) to get knowledge. But everyone shall be
     taken off from seeking knowledge from without, and with an humble
     quiet heart shall wait upon the Lord, till He manifest Himself: for
     He is a great king, and worthy to be waited upon. His testimony
     within fills the heart with joy and singing. He first gives
     experiences; and then power to set forth these experiences. Hence
     you shall speak to the rejoicing one of another, and to the praise
     of Him who declares His power in you. But he that speaks his
     thoughts, studies, and imagination, and stands up to be a teacher
     of others, shall be judged for his unrighteousness, because he
     seeks to honor flesh, and does not honor the Lord."

He then somewhat mystically continues:

     "Behold the Annointing, that is to reach all things, is coming to
     create a new Heaven and a new Earth wherein Righteousness shall
     dwell, and there shall not be a vessel of humane earth but it shall
     be filled with Christ. If it were possible to have so many buckets
     as to contain the whole ocean, every one could be filled with the
     ocean, and being put all together it would make up the perfect
     ocean which filled them all. Even so Christ, which is the spreading
     power, is now beginning to fill every man and woman with Himself.
     He will dwell and rule in everyone; and the Law of Reason and
     Equity shall be Christ in them. Every single body is a star shining
     forth of Him, or rather a body in and out of whom He shines; and He
     is the ocean of power that fills all. And so the words are true,
     the Creation, mankind, shall be the fulness of Him that fills all
     in all. This is the Church, the great Congregation, that, when the
     mystery is completed, shall be the mystical body of Christ, all set
     at liberty from inward and outward straits and bondage. And this
     is called the holy breathing that made all new by Himself and for

       *       *       *       *       *

We think we have now dealt sufficiently with Winstanley's exposition of
the theistical doctrines subsequently adopted, and almost in their
entirety, by the Society of Friends. In a later chapter (Chap. XVI.) we
shall show how far he himself modified his earlier views. And in the
succeeding chapter we shall briefly lay before our readers the practical
and fundamental social changes Winstanley deemed demanded by the
dictates of Reason, as forming the necessary first steps towards laying
the foundations of "a new Earth and a new Heaven wherein Righteousness,
or Justice, shall dwell."


[53:1] _Clarke Papers_, vol. i. p. 379.

[54:1] British Museum, Press Mark, 4377, a. 2.

[54:2] In 1655, Giles Calvert published "A _Declaration from the
Children of Light_ (who are by the world scornfully called Quakers)."
British Museum, Press Mark, E. 838.

[55:1] The full truth of these words comes home to us when we bear in
mind that the law (_De Comburendo Heretico_) sanctioning the burning of
heretics was only repealed in the reign of Charles the Second (in 1677),
the Bishops of the day opposing its repeal almost to a man.

[56:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 2137.

[58:1] "The early Friends were men of prayer, and diligent searchers of
the Holy Scriptures. Unable to find true rest in the various opinions
and systems which in that day divided the Christian world, they believed
that they found the Truth in a more full reception of Christ, not only
as the living and ever-present Head of the Church in its aggregate
capacity, but also as the life and light, the spiritual ruler, teacher
and friend of every individual member."--_Book of Discipline of the
Society of Friends_. Quoted by J. S. Rowntree, _Society of Friends: its
Faith and Practice_, p. 24. See also Barclay's _Apology for the true
Christian Divinity_, p. 1: Second Proposition.

[60:1] "It is the inward master (saith Augustine) that teacheth, it is
Christ that teacheth, it is inspiration that teacheth: where this
inspiration and unction is wanting, it is vain that words from without
are beaten in." And thereafter: "For he that created us, and redeemed
us, and called us by faith, and dwelleth in us by his Spirit, unless he
speaketh unto you inwardly, it is needless for us to cry out."--From
Barclay's _Apology_, p. 13.

[61:1] "If instead of assuming the being of an awful deity, which men,
though they cannot and dare not deny, are always unwilling, sometimes
unable, to conceive, we were to show them a near, visible, inevitable,
but all-beneficent deity, whose presence makes the earth itself a
heaven, I think there would be fewer deaf children sitting in the
market-place."--John Ruskin, _Modern Painters_.

[62:1] British Museum, Press Mark, 4372, a.a. 17. Below the title
appears the following words: "Professors of all forms, behold the
Bridegroom is coming, your profession will be tried to purpose, your
hypocricy shall be hid no longer. You shall feed no longer upon the Oil
that was in other men's Lamps (the Scriptures), for now it is required
that everyone have Oil in his own Lamp, even the pure testimony of truth
within himself. For he that wants this, though he have the report of it
in his book, he shall not enter with the Bridegroom into the chamber of

[63:1] "The incomprehensible Spirit Reason!" It is interesting to note
here that the "Tau" of the great Chinese philosopher, Lau-tsze,--the
word he uses to denote the Absolute, which, consequently, he wisely
leaves vague and undefined, and which apparently has no English word
exactly equivalent to it,--suggests to his translator three English
words--"the Way, Reason, and the Word." The latter's one objection to
the word Reason as an equivalent is that to him it "seems to be more
like a quality or attribute of some conscious being than Tau is." See
_The Speculations of the old Philosopher Lau-tsze_, by John Chalmers,
M.A. Introduction.

[65:1] See Barclay's _Apology_ (Concerning Baptism), p. 7.

[65:2] "All true and acceptable worship to God is offered in the
_inward_ and _immediate_ moving and drawing of his own Spirit, which is
limited neither to places, times, nor persons. For though we be to
worship him always, in that we are to fear before him; yet as to the
outward signification thereof in prayers, praises, or preachings, we
ought not to do it where and when we will, but where and when we are
moved by the secret inspiration of his Spirit in our hearts, which God
heareth and accepteth of, and is never wanting to move us thereunto when
need is, of which he himself is the alone proper judge."--Barclay's
_Apology_ (Concerning Worship), p. 6.



     "The great Lawgiver in Commonwealth's Government is the Spirit of
     Universal Righteousness dwelling in mankind, now rising up to teach
     everyone to do to another as he would have another do to him.... If
     any goes about to build up Commonwealth's Government upon Kingly
     principles, they will both shame and loose themselves: for there is
     a plain difference between the two Governments."--WINSTANLEY, _The
     Law of Freedom_.

On January 26th, 1648 (1649), four days prior to the execution of
Charles the First, the very day the King's death-warrant lay at the
Painted Chamber, Westminster, awaiting the signatures of some of the
less resolute among his judges, Winstanley sat down to write the opening
epistle of the pamphlet we have now to make known to our readers.[68:1]
They were stirring and momentous times, of which, as it seems to us,
this pamphlet is in every way worthy. It reveals a most momentous step
in the development of Winstanley's mind; for in it we see him move from
the misty regions of cosmological, metaphysical, and theistical
speculations to the somewhat firmer ground of social thought. From the
time of its publication, Winstanley leaves the former almost untouched,
concentrates his mind almost exclusively on the latter, pleads
eloquently for the recognition of natural law in the social, or
political world, and steps boldly forward to a life of action, animated
and inspired by the conclusions concerning the necessary foundations of
a social state based upon righteousness that his previous reflections
and meditations, or the Inward Light to which he unhesitatingly
submitted himself, had revealed unto him.

The only indication that Winstanley was in any way influenced by the
exciting discussions which under the circumstances must have raged
everywhere around him, is to be found in his condemnation of Capital
Punishment, which may here find a fitting place. In accordance with his
favourite method, he summarises his views in answer to a hypothetical
question, as follows:

     "But is not this the old rule, He that sheds man's blood by man
     shall his blood be shed?

     "I answer, It is true, but not as usually it is observed. If any
     man can say, he can give life, then he hath the power to take away
     life. But if the power of life and death be only in the hand of the
     Lord, then surely he is a murderer of the Creation that taketh away
     the life of his fellow-creature, man, by any law whatsoever.... For
     if I kill you, I am a murderer; if a third come to kill me for
     murdering you, he is a murderer of me; and so murder hath been
     called Justice, when it is but the curse.... Therefore, O thou
     proud flesh that dares hang or kill thy fellow-creatures that are
     equal to thee in the Creation, know this, that none hath the power
     of life and death but the Spirit, and that all punishments that are
     to be inflicted amongst creatures called men are only such as to
     make the offender to know his Maker, and to live in the community
     of the Righteous Law of Love one with the other."

The opening epistle is addressed--"To the Twelve Tribes of Israel that
are circumcised in heart, and scattered through all the Nations of the
Earth." In it he admonishes them to be patient, for "this New Law of
Righteousness and Peace which is raising up is David your King, which
you have been seeking a long time"; that "He is now coming to reign,
and the isles and nations of the Earth shall all come in unto Him"; that
"He will rest everywhere, for this blessing will fill all places." But
he reminds them that "the swords and counsels of the flesh shall not be
seen in this work; the arm of the Lord only shall bring these mighty
things to pass in the day of His power." "Therefore," he continues, "all
that I can say is this--Though the world, even the seed of the flesh,
despise you, and call you by reproachful names at their pleasure, yet
wait patiently upon your King; He is coming; He is rising; the Son is
up, and His glory will fill the Earth."

In the opening chapter of this pamphlet Winstanley still further
elucidates his interpretation of the allegorical stories of the Creation
and the Fall. How in the beginning man was created perfect, and "the
whole Creation lived in man, and man lived in his Maker." And how man
fell from this high estate by following the promptings of self-love,
covetousness, or the desires of the flesh, to which he attributes all
the misery and suffering men bring upon themselves, and which he
personifies as the First Adam. "All that this Adam doth," he says, "is
to advance himself to be the one power. He gets riches and government in
his hands so that he may lift up himself and suppress the universal
liberty, which is Christ."

He then continues:

     "And this is the beginning of particular interest, buying and
     selling the Earth from one particular hand to another, saying 'This
     is mine,' upholding this particular propriety by a law of
     government of his own making, and thereby restraining other
     fellow-creatures from seeking nourishment from their Mother Earth.
     So that though a man was bred up in a Land, yet he must not work
     for himself where he would, but for him who had bought part of the
     Land, or had come to it by inheritance of his deceased parents, and
     called it his own Land. So that he who had no Land was to work for
     small wages for those who called the Land theirs. Thereby some are
     lifted up in the chair of tyranny, and others trod under the
     footstool of misery, as if the Earth were made for a few, and not
     for all men."

"As if the Earth were made for a few, and not for all men!" In these
few pertinent and indignant words Winstanley strikes the keynote of all
his subsequent writings, as that of those of many other later students
of social problems, from John Locke,[71:1] who may be regarded as his
immediate successor, to Thomas Spence, Patrick Edward Dove,[71:2] Thomas
Paine,[71:3] and Henry George.

He then further emphasises his contention, in words similar to those
that are to-day resounding throughout the advanced political centres of
the world, as follows:

     "And let all men say what they will, so long as such are Rulers as
     call the land theirs, upholding this particular propriety of Mine
     and Thine, the common people shall never have their liberty, nor
     the Land be ever freed from troubles, oppressions, and
     complainings, by reason whereof the Creator of all things is
     continually provoked. O thou proud, selfish, governing Adam, in
     this Land called England! know that the cries of the poor, whom
     thou layeth heavy oppressions upon, are heard."

And in the closing passage of the chapter he formulates his social
ideals in the following words:

     "This is the unrighteous Adam, that dammed up the water springs of
     universal liberty, and brought the Creation under the curse of
     bondage, sorrow, and tears. But when the Earth becomes a Common
     Treasury, as it was in the beginning, and the King of Righteousness
     comes to rule in every one's hearts, then He kills the first
     Adam--for Covetousness thereby is killed.

     "A man shall have meat and drink and clothes by his labour in
     freedom, and what can he desire more in Earth? Pride and Envy
     likewise are killed thereby; for everyone shall look upon each
     other as equal in the Creation, every man, indeed, being a perfect
     Creation of himself. And so this second Adam, Christ the Restorer,
     stops or dams up the running of those stinking waters of
     self-interest, and causes the waters of life and liberty to run
     plentifully in and through the Creation, making the Earth one Store
     House, and every man and woman to live in the Law of Righteousness
     and Peace, members of one household."

In a subsequent chapter (chap. vi.) he returns to this subject, and
emphasises the differences of the views of the ethical-minded man and
the ordinary conventional materialist, in the following suggestive

     "The man of the flesh judges it a righteous thing that some men who
     are cloathed with the objects of the Earth, and so called rich men,
     whether it be got by right or wrong, should be Magistrates to rule
     over the poor; and that the poor should be servants, nay, rather
     slaves, to the rich. But the spiritual man, which is Christ, doth
     judge according to the light of equity and reason, that all mankind
     ought to have a quiet subsistence and freedom to live upon Earth;
     and that there should be no bondman nor beggar in all his holy

For, he contends:

     "Mankind was made to live in the freedom of the spirit, not under
     the bondage of the flesh. For everyone was made to be a Lord over
     the creation of the Earth, cattle, fish, fowl, grass, trees, not
     anyone to be a bond-slave and a beggar under the Creation of his
     own kind. That so everyone, living in freedom and love in the
     strength of the Law of Righteousness in him, not under straits of
     poverty, nor bondage of tyranny one to another, might all rejoice
     together in righteousness, and so glorify their Maker. For surely
     this must dishonor the Maker of all men, that some men should be
     oppressing tyrants, imprisoning, whipping, hanging their
     fellow-creatures, men, for those very things which those very men
     themselves are guilty of. Let men's eyes be opened, and it appears
     clear enough, that the punishers have and do break the Law of
     Equity and Reason more or as much as those who are punished by

But, he adds rejoicingly, just

     "As the powers and wisdom of the flesh hath filled the Earth with
     injustice, oppression, and complainings, by mowing the Earth into
     the hands of a few covetous unrighteous men, who assume a lordship
     over others, declaring themselves thereby to be men of the basest
     spirits. Even so, when the spreading of wisdom and truth fill the
     Earth, mankind, he will take off that bondage, and give a universal
     liberty, and there shall be no more complainings against
     oppression, poverty, or injustice."

Winstanley, however, warns his readers that "this is not to be done by
the hands of a few, or by unrighteous men that would pull down the
tyrannical government out of other men's hands and keep it in their own
heart, as we feel this to be a burden of our age. But it is to be done
by the universal spreading of the Divine Power, which is Christ in
mankind, making them all to act in one spirit, and in and after one law
of reason and equity."

In the next chapter (chap. viii.) Winstanley describes his peculiar
state of mind at the time he first arrived at his fundamental
conclusions, which he evidently regarded as directly revealed to him, in
the following mystic words:

     "As I was in a trance not long since, divers matters were present
     to my sight, which here must not be related. Likewise I heard these
     words--_Work together: Eat bread together: Declare this all
     abroad_. Likewise I heard these words--_Whosoever it is that labors
     in the earth--for any person or persons that lift up themselves as
     Lords and Rulers over others, and that doth not look upon
     themselves as equal to others in the Creation, the hand of the Lord
     shall be upon that laborer. I the Lord have spoke it and I will do
     it. Declare this all abroad._"

He then continues:

     "After I was raised up I was made to remember very fresh what I had
     seen and heard, and did declare all things to them that were with
     me, and I was filled with abundance of quiet peace and secret joy.
     And since that time those words have been like very fruitful seed,
     that have brought forth increase in my heart, which I am much
     pressed in spirit to declare all abroad."

He further explains the meaning of this revelation in the following

     "The poor men by their labors in this time of the first Adam's
     government, have made the buyers and sellers of land, or rich men,
     to become tyrants and oppressors over them. But in the time of
     Israel's restoration, now beginning, when the King of Righteousness
     himself shall be Governor in every man, none then shall work for
     hire, neither shall any give hire, but everyone shall work in love,
     one with and for another, and eat bread together, as being members
     of one household, the Creation, in whom Reason rules king in
     perfect glory."

Under these circumstances, he contends:

     "No man shall have any more land than he can labor himself,[74:1]
     or have others to labor with him in love, working together, and
     eating bread together, as one of the tribes or families of Israel,
     neither giving hire nor taking hire."

After having given forcible expression to his profound contempt for all
mere lip-professions of brotherhood, sympathy, and love, with which
those whose actions are least in accord with the dictates of
righteousness, equity, and reason are so often the most profuse, and
reminding these that--"The talking of love is no love; it is the acting
of love in righteousness which the Spirit Reason, our Father, delights
in"; he addressed the following stirring warning to his fellow-workers:

     "Therefore you dust of the earth that are trod under foot, you poor
     people that make both scholars and rich men your oppressors by your
     labors, take notice of your privilege, the Law of Righteousness is
     now declared. If you labor the earth and work for others that live
     at ease and follow the ways of the flesh, eating the bread which
     you get by the sweat of your brow, not of their own, know this,
     that the hand of the Lord shall break out upon every such hireling
     laborer, and you shall perish with that covetous rich man that hath
     held and yet doth hold the Creation under the bondage of the

Winstanley then declares his intentions as to the future, which, as we
shall see, he faithfully carried out, as follows:

     "I have now obeyed the command of the Spirit that bid me declare
     all this abroad. I have declared it and I will declare it by word
     of mouth, I have now declared it with my pen. And when the Lord
     doth show unto me the place and manner, how He will have us that
     are called common people manure and work upon the common lands, I
     will then go forth and declare it by my action, to eat my bread by
     the sweat of my brow, without either giving or taking hire, looking
     upon the land as freely mine as another's. I have now peace in the
     Spirit, and I have an inward persuasion that the spirit of the poor
     shall be drawn forth ere long to act materially this Law of

Winstanley then proceeds to formulate the practical proposals, whereby
he deemed the disinherited many might reclaim their inheritance, and
that without infringing on the established rights or the property of the
rich: proposals, be it remembered, which, if acted on, would have
altered the whole future economic history of Great Britain. Before
judging of their efficacy, we should bear in mind that at the time he
was writing, before the era of Enclosure Acts, over a third of England
was still common land. However, whatever opinion may be held on this
point, there can be no denying the lucidity and incisiveness of his
words: he says:

     "But be it so that some will say, This is my land, and call such
     and such a parcel of land his own interest.... Therefore, if the
     rich still hold fast to this propriety of Mine and Thine, let them
     labor their own lands with their own hands. And let the common
     people, that say the earth is _ours_, not _mine_, let them labor
     together, and eat bread together upon the commons, mountains, and

Such, then, was the proposal by which Winstanley deemed the relative
merits of Individualism and Communism, as a system of social union,
might best be tested, and which he immediately proceeded to defend in
the following words:

     "For as the enclosures are called such a man's land, and such a
     man's land, so the Commons and Heath are called the common
     people's. And let the world see who labor the Earth in
     righteousness, and those to whom the Lord gives the blessing, let
     them be the people that shall inherit the Earth. Whether they that
     hold a civil propriety, saying, This is mine, which is selfish,
     devilish, and destructive to the Creation; or those that hold a
     common right, saying, The Earth is ours, which lifts up the
     Creation from bondage."

Further, he contends that if his proposals were acted on--

     "None can say their right is taken from them. For let the rich work
     alone by themselves; and let the poor work together by themselves.
     The rich in their enclosures, saying, _This is mine_; and the poor
     upon the Commons, saying, _This is ours, the Earth and its fruits
     are common_. And who can be offended at the poor for doing this?
     None but covetous, proud, idle, pampered flesh, that would have the
     poor work still for this devil (particular interest) to maintain
     his greatness that he may live at ease."

And after expressing his intense conviction that "Surely the Lord hath
not revealed this in vain," he summarises the whole train of reasoning
that had led him to his final conclusion, as follows:

     "Was the Earth made for to preserve a few covetous, proud men to
     live at ease, and for them to bag and barn up the treasures of the
     Earth from others, that these may beg or starve in a fruitful land;
     or was it made to preserve all her children? Let Reason and the
     Prophets' and Apostles' writings be judge, the Earth is the Lord's,
     it is not to be confined to particular interests.... Did the light
     of Reason make the Earth for some men to engross up into bags and
     barns, that others might be oppressed with poverty? Surely Reason
     did not make that law. For the Earth is the Lord's; that is, the
     spreading Power of Righteousness, not the inheritance of covetous,
     proud flesh that dies. If any man can say that he makes corn or
     cattle, he may say, _That is mine_. But if the Lord made these for
     the use of his Creation, surely then the Earth was made by the Lord
     to be a Common Treasury for all, not a particular treasury for

Winstanley then summarises the results of the prevailing system in the
following terse but telling passage:

     "Divide England into three parts, scarce one part is manured. So
     that here is land enough to maintain all her children, yet many die
     of want, or live under a heavy burden of poverty all their days.
     And this misery the poor people have brought upon themselves by
     lifting up particular interest by their labors."

This long but most interesting chapter concludes with indicating the
three steps Winstanley deemed essential for both individual and social
salvation, with which our notice of this pamphlet may fittingly close:

     "There are yet three doors of hope for England to escape destroying

     "First, Let everyone leave off running after others for knowledge
     and comfort, and wait upon the Spirit, Reason, till he break forth
     out of the clouds of your heart and manifest himself within you.
     This is to cast off the shadow of learning, to reject covetous,
     subtile, proud flesh that deceives all by the hearsay and
     traditional preaching of words, letters, and syllables without the
     Spirit, and to make choice of the Lord, the true teacher of
     everyone in their own inward experience.

     "Secondly, Let everyone open his bags and barns, that all may feed
     upon the crops of the Earth, that the burden of poverty may be
     removed. Leave off this buying and selling of land, or of the
     fruits of the Earth, and, as it was in the light of Reason first
     made, so let it be in action amongst all, a Common Treasury, none
     enclosing or hedging in any part of the Earth, saying, _This is
     mine_, which is rebellion and high treason against the King of
     Righteousness. And let this word of the Lord be acted amongst all:
     _Work together; Eat bread together._{5}

     "Thirdly, Leave off dominion and lordship one over another; for the
     whole bulk of mankind are but one living Earth. Leave off
     imprisoning, whipping, and killing, which are but the actings of
     the curse. Let those that have hitherto had no land, and have been
     forced to rob and steal through poverty; henceforth let them
     quietly enjoy land to work upon, that everyone may enjoy the
     benefit of his Creation, and eat his own bread with the sweat of
     his own brows. For surely this particular propriety of mine and
     thine hath brought in all misery upon people. First, it hath
     occasioned people to steal one from another. Secondly, it hath made
     laws to hang those that did steal. It tempts people to do an evil
     action, and then kills them for doing of it. Let all judge whether
     this be not a great evil.

     "Well, if everyone would speedily set about the doing of these
     three particulars I have mentioned, the Creation would thereby be
     lift up out of bondage, and our Maker should have the glory of the
     works of His hands."

       *       *       *       *       *

Before Winstanley found opportunity to declare in action the truths that
had been revealed unto him, he found time to write yet another pamphlet,
entitled _Fire in the Bush_.[78:1] In it he still further elucidates his
interpretation of the story of the Creation, and his conception of the
Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life, and reaffirms his basic
contention that "All the strivings that are in mankind are for the
Earth: Who shall have it? Whether some particular persons shall have it,
and the rest have none; or whether the Earth shall be made a Common
Treasury to all, without respect of persons?" As it traverses much the
same ground as the pamphlet from which we have just quoted at such
length, it really calls for no further notice from us. The following
verse on its title-page, however, seems to us worth quoting:

    "The Righteous Law a government will give to whole mankind
    How he should govern all the Earth, and therein true peace find;
    This government is Reason pure, who will fill man with Love,
    And wording justice, without deeds, is judged by this Dove."


[68:1] The full title reads--"_The New Law of Righteousness_: Budding
forth to restore the whole Creation from the Bondage or the Curse. Or a
glympse of the new Heaven and the new Earth, wherein dwells
Righteousness. Giving an Alarm to silence all that preach or speak from
hearsay or imagination." This pamphlet is very scarce. There is no copy
in the British Museum or in any other of the London Public Libraries,
nor in the Bodleian. The Jesus College Library, Oxford, however, is
fortunate enough to possess a copy, which, to judge from its marginal
notes, was once in the possession of one of Winstanley's followers or
admirers, and which was courteously placed at our disposal by the
librarian, Mr. Hazell, to whom we here desire to convey our grateful

[71:1] See his chapter "Of Property" in his classical work on _Civil
Government_, a chapter which, as the conservative Hallam observes,
"would be sufficient, if all Locke's other writings had perished, to
leave him a high name in philosophy."

[71:2] For a short account of the writings of Thomas Spence and Patrick
Edward Dove, see J. Morrison Davidson's _Four Precursors of Henry
George_. (Publisher, F. Henderson, London.)

[71:3] See his _Agrarian Justice_.

[74:1] "As much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and
can use the product of, so much is his property."--JOHN LOCKE, _Civil
Government_. (Of Property.)

[78:1] "_Fire in the Bush_: The Spirit burning, not consuming, but
purging mankind." Published by Giles Calvert. This pamphlet, too, is
very scarce. There is no copy in the British Museum, but a copy is to be
found in the Bodleian Library.



     "O England, England! wouldst thou have thy government sound and
     healthful? Then cast about and see and search diligently to find
     out all those burthens that came in by Kings, and remove them; and
     then will thy Commonwealth's Government arise from under the clods
     under which as yet it is buried and covered with
     deformity."--WINSTANLEY, _The Law of Freedom_.

The place in the country to which our hero had retired was, we believe,
the little town of Colnbrook, in the extreme southern end of the county
of Buckinghamshire, on the borders of Middlesex, and within seven miles
of St. George's Hill in Surrey. On December 5th, 1648, about a month
prior to the date attached to the opening epistle of _The New Law of
Righteousness_, there issued from the press a short pamphlet,[79:1]
which, seeing that a second edition was printed the following March,
appears to have had a considerable sale, and the title-page of which ran
as follows:



     A Discovery of the Main Ground, Original Cause of all the Slavery
         in the World, but chiefly in England. Presented by way of a
         Declaration of many of the Well-Affected in that County, to all
         their poor oppressed Countrymen of England. And also to the
         consideration of the present Army under the conduct of the Lord

     Arise, O God, judge thou the Earth.

     Printed in the year 1648."

It opens as follows:

     "Jehovah Ellohim created man after his own likeness and image,
     which image is his son Jesus (Heb. 1. v. 3), who is the image of
     the invisible God. Now man being made after God's image or
     likeness, and created by the word of God, which word was made flesh
     and dwelt amongst us, which word was life, and that life the light
     of man (John 1. v. 1-4). This light I take to be that pure Spirit
     in man we call Reason, which we call Conscience. From all which
     there issued out that Golden Rule or Law, which we call Equity: the
     sum of which is, saith Jesus, _Whatsoever ye would that men should
     do to you, do to them: this is the Law and the Prophets._ James
     calls it the Royal Law; and to live from this principle is called a
     good conscience."

It then points out the cause why men are disinclined to follow this
sound principle of harmonious social union, and the consequences
thereof, as manifested in the prevailing conditions, in the following

     "But man following his own sensuality became a devourer of the
     creatures and an encloser, not content that another should enjoy
     the same privilege as himself, but encloseth all from his brother;
     so that all the land, trees, beasts, fish, fowl, etc., are enclosed
     into a few mercenary hands, and all the rest deprived and made
     their slaves. So if they cut a tree for fire, they are to be
     punished, or hunt a fowl, it is imprisonment, because it is
     gentlemen's game, as they say. Neither must they keep cattle, or
     set up a house, all ground being enclosed, without hiring leave for
     the one or buying room for the other of the chief encloser, called
     the Lord of the Manor, or some other wretch as cruel as he.... Now
     all this slavery of the one and tyranny of the other was at first
     by murder and cruelty one against the other. And that they might
     strengthen themselves in their villany against God's Ordinances and
     their Brother's Freedom and Rights, they had always a
     Commander-in-Chief, and he became their King."

After emphasising at some length that all special privileges of the few
and disabilities of the many came in and are maintained by kings, it

     "So that observe the king is made by you your god on Earth, as God
     is the God of Heaven, saith the Lawyers.... Now, Friends, what have
     we to do with any of these unfruitful works of darkness? Let us
     take Peter's advice (1 Pet. iv. 3)--_The time past of our lives may
     suffice that we have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we
     walked in lascivious lusts, excess of wine, revellings,
     banquetting, and abominable idolatry._ And let us not receive the
     Beast's mark lest that the doom in Revelation (xiv. 9-10) befall
     us: but let us oppose the Beast's power, and follow the Lamb
     withersoever he goeth."

The pamphlet then dwells on the chief causes impelling "wicked men," the
privileged classes and their parasites, to stand up for a king:

     "Rich men cry for a king, so that the Poor should not claim his
     right, which is his by God's gift.

     "The horseleech Lawyer cries for a king, because else the supreme
     power will come into the People's representatives lawfully

     "The things, Lords, Barons, etc., cry for a king, else their
     tyrannical House of Peers falls down, and all their rotten honour,
     and all Patents and Corporations: their power being derived from
     him; if he go down, all their tyranny falls too."

But now, it continues:

     "The honest man that would have liberty cries down all interests
     [or special privileges, as they would be termed to-day] whatsoever;
     and to this end he desires Common Rights and Equity: which consist
     of these particulars following:

     "1. A just portion for each man to live, that so none need to beg
     or steal for want, but everyone may live comfortably.

     "2. A just Rule for each man to go by, which Rule is to be found in

     "3. All men alike under the said Rule, which Rule is, to do to one
     another as another should do to him....

     "4. The government to be by Judges, called Elders, men fearing God
     and hating Covetousness, to be chosen by the people, and to end all
     controversies in every town or hamlet, without any other or further
     trouble or charge."

These, then, were the four points of the People's Charter of 1648; the
four fundamental reforms which Winstanley, if Winstanley be the author
of this pamphlet, as we believe, deemed necessary to secure the peace
and well-being of the masses of the people. The pamphlet then indicates
where the people are to look for their model, in the following words:

     "And in the Scriptures the Israelite's Common-wealth is an
     excellent pattern.... Now in Israel if a man were poor, then a
     public maintenance and stock were to be provided to raise him
     again. So would all Bishops Lands, Forest Lands, and Crown Lands do
     in your Land, which the apostate Parliament men give one to
     another, and to maintain the needless thing called a king. And
     every seven years the whole Land was for the poor, the fatherless,
     widows, and strangers, and at every crop a portion allowed them.

     "Mark this, poor people, what the Levellers would do for you. Oh
     why are you so mad as to cry up a king? It is he and his Court and
     Patentee-men, as Majors Aldermen, and such creatures, that like
     cormorants devour what you should enjoy, and set up Whipping-posts
     and Correcting-houses to enslave you. 'Tis rich men that oppress
     you, saith James.

     "Now in this right Common-wealth he that had least had no want.
     Therefore the Scriptures call them a Family or Household of Israel.
     And amongst those who received the Gospel, they were gathered into
     a Family, and had all things common (Acts 2. 44); yet so that each
     one was to labor and get his own bread. And this is Equity as
     aforesaid. For it is not lawful nor fit for some to work and the
     others to play; for it's God's command that all work, let all eat.
     And if all work alike, is it not fit for all to eat alike, have
     alike, and enjoy alike privileges and freedoms? And he that doth
     not like this, is not fit to live in a Common-wealth. Therefore
     weep and howl, ye rich men, by what vain name or title soever, God
     will visit you for all your oppressions. You live upon other men's
     labors, giving them bran to eat, extorting extreme rents and taxes
     from your fellow-creatures. But now what will you do? for the
     people will no longer be enslaved by you, for the knowledge of the
     Lord shall enlighten them."

The pamphlet then details the doings of William the Conqueror, contends
that the Nobility and Gentry owe all their special privileges to his
innovations, that "their rise was the Country's ruin, and the putting
them down will be the restitution of our rights again." The very
existence of Parliaments is attributed to the uprisings of their
forefathers; and after emphasising the manner in which all power was
still secured to the King and the House of Peers, it concludes with the
following exhortation: "So when all Israel saw that the King hearkened
not unto them, the people answered the King, saying, What portion have
we in David; neither have we inheritance in the Son of Jesse. To your
tents, O Israel."

Within a few days of the publication of the second edition of the above
pamphlet, its author was ready with the second part, which appeared on
March 30th (1649), and was entitled:


     Being a Declaration of the State and Condition that all Men are in
         by Right. Likewise the Slavery all the World are in by their
         own kind, and this Nation in particular, and by whom. Likewise
         the Remedies, as Take away the Cause and the Effect will cease.

     Being a Representation unto all the People of England, and to the
         soldiery under the Lord General Fairfax.


     'Whatsoever doth manifest, is Light.'--EPH. v. 13."

As this pamphlet covers much the same ground as the former, our notice
of it will be but brief. After emphasising the importance of the
observance of the Golden Rule, it declares that "All men by God's
donation are alike free by birth, and have alike privileges by virtue of
His grant." "So that for any to enclose the creation wholly from his
kind, to his own use, to the impoverishment of his fellow-creatures,
whereby they are made his slaves, is altogether unlawful. And it is the
cause of all oppressions, whereby many thousands are deprived of their
rights which God hath invested them withal, whereby they are forced to
beg or steal for want." It then details the various means taken to this
end, and declares them, as well as the kingly power which its author
holds, to be their source and origin, to be opposed to the direct
command of God as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. Hence it denounces
the oppressing privileged classes as "rebels against God's commands,"
and as "traitors against God's Annointed, Jesus Christ, who alone is
Lord and King over men, and all men are equal." The writer contends that
with the fall of the King, all the special privileges, grants, patents,
monopolies, etc., created by him, should have fallen also. But since "it
is apparent that the Grandees of the Parliament intend still to uphold
them, and to take a large share thereof unto themselves," he finds
himself forced to appeal "to all our dear Brethren in England and to the
Soldiers in the Army to stand everyone in his place to oppose all
Tyranny whatsoever and by whomsoever intended against us."

At the foot of this pamphlet we find the following notice: "Reader, You
may expect in the Third Part to have an Anatomising of all Powers that
now are, etc. And in the Fourth Part, the Grounds and Rules that all men
are to go by. Farewell." Whether these notices refer to some of
Winstanley's pamphlets, the second seems to point to _The New Law of
Righteousness_, or not, we have no means of knowing. Nor, indeed,
whether the above pamphlets were from his pen, though we strongly
believe them to have been so. In any case they seem to us to have
sufficient bearing on the Digger Movement to justify our noticing them

Some six weeks later, on May 10th, yet another pamphlet appeared from
the same part of the country, entitled:


     Being a Representation of the Middle Sort of Men within the three
         Chilterne Hundreds of Disborough, Burnum and Stoke, and part of
         Ailsbury Hundred, whereby they declare their Resolution and
         Intentions, with a Removal of their Grievances."

This is a very short pamphlet, of some seven pages, in which these
"Middle Sort of Men" state that they had waited for eight years for
redress of their grievances, but finding them still continue, and
expecting little good from the Parliament and the Grandees of the Army,
"finding the Grandees of the Army to be the men that hinder both the
honest soldiery that stand for absolute freedom, and doth imprison and
put them to death that are for Just Principles of Common Right and
Equity, so that those honest men are by those proud Commanders
persecuted by the name of Levellers...."[85:1]

     "Therefore we declare our intentions that the World may take notice
     of our principles, which are for Common Right and Freedom. And

     "1. We do protest against all Arbitrary Courts, Terms, Lawyers,
     Impropriators, Lords of Manors, Patents, Privileges, Customs,
     Tolls, Monopolisers, Incroachers, Enhancers, etc., or any other
     interest-parties, whose powers are arbitrary, etc., as not to allow
     or suffer ourselves to be inslaved by any of those parties, but
     shall resist, as far as lawfully we can, all their Arbitrary

     "2. We protest against the whole Norman Power, as being too
     intolerable a burden any longer to bear.

     "3. We protest against paying Tythes, Tolls, Customs, etc.

     "4 We protest against any coming to Westminster Terms, or to give
     any money to the Lawyers, but will endeavour to have all our
     Controversies ended by 2, 3 or 12 men of our own neighborhood, as
     before the Norman Conquest.

     "5. We protest against any trial by a Martial Court as arbitrary,
     tyrannical and wicked, and not for a Free People to suffer in times
     of peace.

     "6. We shall help to aid and assist the Poor to the regaining all
     their Rights, dues, etc., that do belong unto them, and are
     detained from them by any Tyrant whatsoever.

     "7. And likewise will further and help the said Poor to manure,
     dig, etc., the said Commons, and to sell those woods growing
     thereon to help them to a stock, etc.

     "8. All well affected persons that joyn in Community in God's way,
     as those Acts 2. v. 44, and desire to manure, dig and plant in the
     waste grounds and commons, shall not be troubled or molested by any
     of us, but rather furthered therein.

     "We desire to go by the Golden Rule of Equity, viz., To do to all
     men as we would they should do to us, and no otherwise: and as we
     would tyrannise over none, so we shall not suffer ourselves to be
     slaves to any whosoever."

That such views were not restricted to "the Levellers" may be inferred
from the very similar demands made in "A Petition of the Officers
engaged for Ireland," and presented to the House of Commons in July of
the same year (see Whitelocke, p. 413), from which we take the
following: "That proceedings in law may be in English, cheap, certain,
etc., and all suits and differences first to be arbitrated by three
neighbours, and if they cannot determine it, then to certify the Court."
They also "humbly pray"--"That Tithes may be taken away, and Two
Shillings in the Pound paid for all lands, out of which the Ministers to
be maintained and the Poor." This, we should think, was the first
petition to the House of Commons in favour of the Taxation of Land

In fact, religious and political speculation, as well as dissatisfaction
and discontent, were rife amongst the active and thoughtful of the
people, as well as in the Army. On the 17th of the previous month, some
of the soldiers, who, according to Gardiner,[87:1] "had resolved not to
leave England till the demands of the Levellers [the political
Levellers] had been granted--300 in Hewson's regiment alone," had
refused to go to Ireland, and had been promptly cashiered. On April 24th
a dispute about pay in one of the troops of Whalley's regiment had
resulted "in some thirty of the soldiers seizing the colours and
refusing to leave their quarters." It was not till Cromwell and Fairfax
appeared on the scene that they submitted. Fifteen of their number were
carried to Whitehall, where, on the 26th, a Court-martial condemned six
of them to death. "Cromwell, however, pleaded for mercy, and in the end
all were pardoned with the exception of Robert Lockyer, who was believed
to have been their leader." Lockyer, Gardiner continues, "though young
in years, had fought gallantly through the whole of the war. He was a
thoughtful, religious man, beloved by his comrades, who craved for the
immediate establishment of liberty and democratic order. As such he had
stood up for _The Agreement of the People_ on Corkbush Field," when
another trooper of a similar character, named Arnold, had been shot to
death, "and he now entertained against his commanding officers a
prejudice arising from other sources than the mere dispute about pay,
which influenced natures less noble than his own.... On the 27th,
Lockyer, firmly believing himself to be a martyr to the cause of right
and justice, was led up Ludgate Hill to the open space in front of St.
Paul's, and there, after expostulating with the firing party for their
obedience to their officers in a deed of murder, he was shot to death."

Lockyer's funeral took place on the 29th, and was the occasion of a
remarkable demonstration, of which we take the following account from
the pages of Whitelocke's _Memorial of English Affairs_ (p. 399):

     "Mr. Lockier a Trooper who was shot to death by Sentence of the
     Court Martial was buried in this manner. About one thousand went
     before the Corps, and five or six in a file, the Corps was then
     brought with six Trumpets sounding a Soldier's Knell, then the
     Trooper's Horse came clothed all over in mourning and led by a
     Footman. The Corps was adorned with bundles of Rosemary, one half
     stained with blood, and the Sword of the deceased with them. Some
     thousands followed in Ranks and Files, all had Sea-green and black
     Ribbon tied on their Hats and to their Breasts, and the Women
     brought up the Rear. At the new Church Yard in Westminster some
     thousands more of the better sort met them, who thought not fit to
     march through the City. Many looked on this Funeral as an Affront
     to the Parliament and Army; others called them Levellers, but they
     took no notice of any of them."

In view of such a manifestation of the state of public opinion, we
cannot be surprised that Winstanley's eloquent and impressive appeals
awoke a responsive echo in the minds of many who would have shrunk from
following his example, or even from publicly avowing his creed.
Moreover, the miserable condition of the masses of the agricultural
population, of which we shall give some startling evidence later on,
must have prepared a soil favourable to his self-imposed mission, to
awaken them to a knowledge both of their rights and of their duties.
Especially welcome must have been doctrines in accordance with their
simple religious beliefs, as well as with their ancient and well-founded
traditions of certain inalienable rights to the use of the land: rights
that, as they well knew, had been filched from them under cover of laws
they had no voice in making, which they did not understand, and which
were enforced upon them by the power of the sword and gallows. We must
remember, however, that though the landholders had succeeded in
impoverishing, they had not yet succeeded in degrading the people; some
remnant of the old English spirit was still left, and the Civil War had
re-awakened the old English craving for freedom, liberty, and equity.
The landholders, in their attempt to emancipate themselves from the
control of the Crown, had kindled a fire amongst the people before which
they quailed; small wonder, then, that about this time they began to
wish, to intrigue and to struggle for the re-establishment of the
Monarchy. From the time of Henry the Eighth the condition of the English
labourers had steadily worsened; it was left to the landholders after
the Restoration to complete their enslavement and degradation. When
considering Winstanley's or any other similar doctrines, the student
would do well to bear in mind Professor Thorold Rogers'
conclusions,[89:1]--conclusions arrived at after a lifelong study of the
question,--that--"I contend that from 1563 to 1824, a conspiracy,
concocted by the law and carried out by parties interested in its
success, was entered into, to cheat the English workmen of his wages, to
tie him to the soil, to deprive him of hope, and to degrade him into
irremediable poverty." Or, as he elsewhere expresses it[89:2]--"For more
than two centuries and a half the English law, and those who
administered the law, were engaged in grinding down the English workman
to the lowest pittance, in stamping out every expression or act which
indicated any organised discontent, and in multiplying penalties upon
him when he thought of his natural rights."


[79:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark E 475 (11).

[83:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 548 (33).

[84:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 555.

[85:1] About this time, or a little later, there appeared in London an
interesting manifesto from some of the disbanded soldiers, the copy of
which in the British Museum (Press Mark, 4152. b.b. 109) bears no date,
but is addressed as follows: "To the Generals and Captains, Officers and
Soldiers of this present Army. The Just and Equal Appeal, and the state
of the Innocent Cause of us, who have been turned out of your Army for
the exercise of our pure Consciences, who are now persecuted amongst our
Brethren under the name of Quakers." Wherein they declare that "The
first cause and ground of our engagement in the late wars against the
Bishops and Prelates, and against Kings and Lords, and the whole body of
oppressors: our first engagement, we say, against these was justly and
truly upon that account of purchasing and obtaining Liberties in Civil
Rights, and also in matters of Conscience in the exercise of the worship
of God.... And we can safely say that the Liberty of Conscience and the
True Freedom of the Nations from all their oppressions was the mark at
which we aimed, and the harbour for which we hoped and the rest proposed
in our minds as the absolute end of our long and weary travel."

[87:1] _History of the Protectorate_, vol. i. pp. 50, 51.

[89:1] _Six Centuries of Work and Wages_, p. 398.

[89:2] _Socialism and Land._ Essay in a Quarterly Review, _Subjects of
the Day_, part ii. p. 52.



     "Take notice, That England is not a Free People till the Poor that
     have no land have a free allowance to dig and labor the Commons,
     and so live as comfortably as the Land Lords that live in their
     Inclosures. For the people have not laid out their monies and shed
     their blood that their Land Lords, the Norman Power, should still
     have its liberty and freedom to rule in tyranny, but that the
     Oppressed might be set free, prison doors opened, and the Poor
     People's heart comforted by an universal consent of making the
     Earth a Common Treasury, that they may live together united by
     brotherly love into one spirit, and having a comfortable livelihood
     in the Community of one Earth their Mother."--WINSTANLEY, _The True
     Levellers Standard Advanced_.

By the publication of his earlier pamphlets, Winstanley seems to have
attracted a small band of earnest disciples, eager by their actions to
declare their adherence to the principles he had so fearlessly and
eloquently proclaimed. However, before taking the steps they had decided
on, they deemed it necessary openly and frankly to declare their
intentions to the world, more especially to those whose individual or
class interests would be likely to be affected thereby. Hence early in
1649, probably in the last days of March or the beginning of April, they
issued a pamphlet, signed by some 46 of them, which seems mainly from
Winstanley's pen, entitled:


     Directed to all that call themselves or are called Lords of Manors
         through this Nation, that have begun to cut, or that through
         fear of Covetousness do intend to cut down the woods and trees
         that grow upon the Commons and Waste Land."

The pamphlet opens with the following vigorous and pertinent words:

     "We whose names are subscribed, do in the name of all the poor
     oppressed people of England, declare unto you that call yourselves
     Lords of Manors and Lords of the Land, that, in regard the King of
     Righteousness, our Maker, hath enlightened our hearts so far as to
     see that the Earth was not made purposely for you to be Lords of
     it, and we to be your Slaves, Servants and Beggars, but it was made
     to be a common livelihood to all.... And further, in regard the
     King of Righteousness hath made us sensible of our burthens, and
     the cries and groanings of our hearts are come before Him, we take
     it as a testimony of love from Him, that our hearts begin to be
     freed from slavish fear of men such as you are, and that we find
     Resolutions in us, grounded upon the Inward Law of Love one towards
     another, to dig and plough up the Commons and Waste Land through
     England; and that our conversations shall be so unblamable that
     your Laws shall not reach to oppress us any longer, unless you by
     your Laws will shed the innocent blood that runs in our veins."

Subsequently they protest against the Lords of Manors controlling the
use and taking the profit of the Commons, hindering the people from
supplying their wants as regards "Woods, Heath, Turf or Turfeys in
places about the Commons," and continue defiantly:

     "Therefore we are resolved to be cheated no longer, nor to be held
     under the slavish fear of you no longer, seeing the Earth was made
     for us as well as for you. And if the Common Land belong to us who
     are the poor oppressed, surely the woods that grow upon the Commons
     belong to us likewise. Therefore we are resolved to try the
     uttermost in the light of Reason to know whether we shall be
     Free-men or Slaves. If we lie still and let you steal away our
     birthrights, we perish; and if we petition, we perish also, though
     we have paid taxes, given free-quarter, and have ventured our lives
     to preserve the Nation's freedom as much as you, and therefore, by
     the Law of Contract with you, freedom in the land is our portion
     as well as yours, equal with you. And if we strive for Freedom, and
     your murdering, governing Laws destroy us, we can but perish."

     "Therefore we require and we resolve to take both Common Land and
     Common Woods to be a livelihood for us, and look upon you as equal
     with us, not above us, knowing very well that England, the Land of
     our Nativity, is to be a Common Treasury of Livelihood to all,
     without respect of persons.

     "So then, we declare unto you that do intend to cut our Common
     Woods and Trees, that you shall not do it, unless it be for a stock
     for us, and we to know of it by a public declaration abroad, that
     the poor oppressed, who live thereabouts, may take it and employ it
     for their public use: Therefore take notice, we have demanded it in
     the name of the Commons of England, and of all the Nations of the
     world, it being the righteous freedom of the Creation."

They then warn all wood-buyers against purchasing from those who would
dispose of such wood for their own private advantage, again emphasising
their contention that they would take it only to provide a common stock
for all. Then they appeal to the Great Council of England for protection
and encouragement, urging that august body to fulfil the promises so
freely made, at the outbreak of the Civil War, to induce them and others
to espouse the Parliament's cause. Apparently they did not expect much
from them, as their appeal commences in the following somewhat
hesitating manner:

     "And we hope we may not doubt (at least we expect) that they that
     are called the Great Council and Powers of England, who so often
     have declared themselves by promises and by covenants, and have
     confirmed them by multitude of fasting days, and devout
     protestations to make England a free people, upon condition they
     would pay moneys and adventure their lives against the successor of
     the Norman Conqueror, under whose oppressing power England was
     enslaved. And we look upon that freedom promised to be the
     inheritance of all, without respect of persons. And this cannot be
     unless the Land of England be freely set at liberty from
     proprietors and becomes a Common Treasury to all her children, as
     every portion of the Land of Canaan was the common livelihood of
     such and such a Tribe, and of every member of that Tribe, without
     exception, neither hedging in any, nor hedging out.

     "We say we hope we need not doubt of their sincerity to us herein,
     and that they will not gainsay our determinate course. Howsoever,
     their actions will prove to the view of all either their sincerity
     or their hypocrisy. We know what we speak is our privilege and that
     our cause is righteous; and if they doubt of it, let them but send
     a child for us to come before them, and we will make it manifest
     some ways."

They then advance the grounds for their demands in the following
incisive words:

     "_First_, By the National Covenant, which yet stands in force to
     bind Parliament and People to be faithful and sincere before the
     Lord God Almighty, wherein every one in his several place hath
     covenanted to preserve and seek the liberty each of other without
     respect of persons.

     "_Secondly_, By the late victory over King Charles we do claim this
     our privilege to be quietly given us out of the hands of Tyrant
     Government, as our bargain and contract with them. For the
     Parliament promised if we would pay taxes, and give free-quarter,
     and adventure our lives against Charles and his party, whom they
     called the common enemy, they would make us a free people.[93:1]
     These three being all done by us, as well as by themselves, we
     claim this our bargain by the Law of Contract from them, to be a
     free people with them, they being chosen by us, but for a peculiar
     work, and for an appointed time, from among us, not to be our
     oppressing Lords, but servants to succour us. But these two are our
     weakest proofs. And yet by them, in the light of Reason and Equity
     that dwells in men's hearts, we shall with ease cast down all those
     former enslaving, Norman, reiterated Laws, in every King's reign
     since the Conquest, which are as thorns in our eyes and pricks in
     our sides, and which are called the Ancient Government of England.

     "_Thirdly_, We shall prove we have a free right to the land of
     England, being born therein, as well as elder brothers, and that it
     is our right equal with them and they with us, to have a
     comfortable livelihood in the Earth, without owning any of our own
     kind to be either Lords or Land-Lords over us. And this we shall
     prove by plain text of Scripture, without exposition upon them,
     which the Scholars and Great Ones generally say is their rule to
     walk by.

     "_Fourthly_, We shall prove it by the Righteous Law of our
     Creation, that mankind in all its branches is the Lord of the
     Earth, and ought not to be in subjection to any of his own kind
     without him, but to live in the light of the Law of Righteousness
     and Peace established in his heart."

The pamphlet concludes as follows:

     "Thus in love we have declared the purpose of our hearts plainly,
     without flattery, expecting love and the same sincerity from you,
     without grumbling or quarrelling, being Creatures of your own image
     and mould, intending no other matter herein, but to observe the Law
     of Righteous Action, endeavouring to shut out of the Creation the
     accursed thing called Particular Propriety, which is the cause of
     all wars, bloodshed, theft, and enslaving Laws, that hold the
     people under misery.

     "Signed for and in the behalf of all the poor oppressed people of
     England and the whole world--

              "GERARD WINSTANLEY, }
              JOHN COULTON,       }
              JOHN PALMER,        }
              THOMAS STAR,        }
              SAMUEL WEBB,        } and others, forty-six in all.
              JOHN HAYMAN,        }
              THOMAS EDCER,       }
              WILLIAM HOGRILL,"   }

A few days after the publication of this declaration, viz., on Sunday,
April 1st, 1649, the Diggers commenced their labours on the Commons
around George's Hill, in Surrey, the first results of which we have
already recorded. Within a few days of Winstanley and Everard's visit to
Lord Fairfax and his Council of War, they and their followers drafted
yet another pamphlet, which bears date April 26th, 1649, the very day
Lockyer, "The Army's Martyr," was condemned to death, and the title-page
of which reads as follows:





     JOHN TAYLOR, etc.

     Beginning to plant and manure the Waste Land upon Georges Hill, in
     the Parish of Walton, in the County of Surrey."

The pamphlet opens with a Preface by a certain John Taylor, whose name
appears last on the list of signatures attached thereto, and who was
probably one of Winstanley's more recent converts. In it he states that
he has had "some conversation with the author of this ensuing
declaration, and the persons subscribing, and by experience find them
sweetly acted and guided by the everlasting Spirit, the Prince of Peace,
to walk in the paths of Righteousness." "Such as these," he declares,
"shall be partakers of the promise--_Blessed are the meek, for they
shall inherit the Earth._"

The body of the pamphlet itself is headed:

         THE WORLD, shewing the cause why the Common People of England
         have begun and give consent to dig up, manure, and sow corn
         upon George Hill in Surrey, by those that have subscribed, and
         thousands more that give consent."

It commences as follows:

     "In the beginning of time the great Creator, Reason, made the Earth
     to be a Common Treasury to preserve beasts, birds, fishes and man,
     the Lord who was to govern this Creation. For man had dominion
     given him over the beasts, birds and fishes; but not one word was
     spoken in the beginning that one branch of mankind should rule over
     another.... But since human flesh began to delight himself in the
     objects of the Creation more than in the Spirit of Reason and
     Righteousness ... and selfish imagination ruling as King in the
     room of Reason therein, and working with Covetousness, did set up
     one man to teach and rule over another; and thereby the Spirit was
     killed, and Man was brought into bondage and became a greater slave
     to some of his own kind than the beasts of the field were to him.
     Hereupon the Earth (which was made to be a Common Treasury of
     Relief for all, both beasts and men) was hedged into enclosures by
     the Teachers and Rulers, and the others were made Servants and
     Slaves. And the Earth, which was made to be a Common Storehouse for
     all, is bought and sold and kept within the hands of a few, whereby
     the Great Creator is mightily dishonoured, as if He were a
     respecter of persons, delighting in the comfortable livelihood of
     some, and rejoicing in the miserable poverty and straits of

Winstanley then makes his appeal to those who had been entrusted with
the government of the Nation, in the following touching and yet
suggestive words:

     "O thou Powers of England! though thou hast promised to make this
     people a Free People, yet thou hast so handled the matter, through
     thy self-seeking humour, that thou hast wrapped us up more in
     bondage, and oppression lies heavy upon us.... If some of you will
     not dare to shed your blood to maintain tyranny and oppression
     upon the Creation, know this, That our blood and life shall not be
     unwilling to be delivered up in meekness to maintain Universal
     Liberty, that so the Curse, on our part, may be taken off the
     Creation. We shall not do this by force of arms; we abhor it, for
     it is the work of the Midianites to kill one another, but by
     obeying the Lord of Hosts, by laboring the Earth in Righteousness
     together, to earn our bread by the sweat of our brows, neither
     giving hire nor taking hire, but working together and eating
     together as one man, or as one house in Israel restored from
     Bondage. And so by the power of Reason, the Law of Righteousness in
     us, we endeavour to lift up the Creation from that bondage of Civil
     Propriety which it groans under."

He again explains the work they are entered upon, and their reasons for
attempting it, as follows:

     "The work we are going about is this, To dig up Georges Hill and
     the waste grounds thereabouts, and to sow corn, and to eat our
     bread together by the sweat of our brows.

     "And the First Reason is this, THAT WE MAY WORK IN RIGHTEOUSNESS,

Then follows this impressive declaration of the motives inspiring their

     "For it is showed us, That so long as we, or any other, do own the
     Earth to be the peculiar Interest of Lords and Land Lords, and not
     common to others as well as to them, we own the Curse, and hold the
     Creation under Bondage. And so long as we or any other do own Land
     Lords and Tenants, for one to call the land his, or another to hire
     it of him, or for one to give hire and for another to work for
     hire: This is to dishonour the work of Creation, as if the
     righteous Creator should have respect to persons, and therefore
     made the Earth for some and not for all. So long as we, or any
     other, maintain this Civil Propriety, we consent still to hold the
     Creation in that bondage it groans under; and so we should hinder
     the Work of Restoration, and sin against the Light that is given
     into us, and so, through fear of the flesh man, lose our peace."

And the pamphlet concludes with the following somewhat mystic words:

     "Thus you Powers of England, and of the whole World, we have
     declared our Reasons why we have begun to dig upon George Hill in
     Surrey. One thing I must tell you more, which I received in voice
     likewise at another time; and when I received it my eye was set
     towards you. The words were these--_Let Israel go free._

     "Surely as Israel lay four hundred and thirty years under Pharaoh's
     bondage, before Moses was sent to fetch them out, even so Israel
     (the Elect Spirit spread in Sons and Daughters) hath lain three
     times so long already.... But now the time of Deliverance hath
     come.... For now the King of Righteousness is arising to rule in
     and over the Earth.... Therefore once more, _Let Israel go free_,
     that the Poor may labour the waste land, and suck the Breasts of
     their Mother Earth, that they starve not. In so doing thou wilt
     keep the Sabbath Day, which is a Day of Rest, sweetly enjoying the
     Peace of the Spirit of Righteousness, and find Peace by living
     among a people that live in Peace: This will be a Day of Rest which
     thou never knew yet.

     "But I do not entreat thee, for thou art not to be entreated. But
     in the Name of the Lord, that hath drawn me forth to speak to thee,
     I, yea I say, I command thee, _To let Israel go free, and quietly
     to gather together into the place where I shall appoint; and hold
     them, no longer in bondage_.... But if you will not, but
     Pharaoh-like cry, _Who is the Lord that we should obey him?_ and
     endeavour to oppose, then know, that He that delivered Israel from
     Pharaoh of old is the same Power still, in whom we trust, and whom
     we serve. For this, Conquest over thee shall be got, _not by Sword
     or Weapon, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts._"

Such, then, were the first "official pronouncements" of the body of men
known in the History of England as the Diggers, whose proud privilege it
was to be the first in our native land, as against the rights of
property, boldly to proclaim the rights of man. Poor in worldly goods
they may have been, but they were rich in hope and in love, in broad
thoughts and elevating ideals, in a firm belief in the power and
ultimate triumph of the Inward Light of Equity and Reason, and in
unflinching resolution, not only to proclaim the steps necessary to
social salvation, but to adventure their lives and persons to lay the
foundations of a better, of a more equitable and beneficial, social
state than ever they knew. Certain it is that they were inspired by the
highest motives that impel men to action; hence even those who may deem
their views erroneous should not withhold from the men themselves their
meed of respect, admiration, and sympathy. To those who deem their views
true, we need make no appeal. Monuments are erected in stone, in marble,
or in gold, to those whose actions in peace or in war commend themselves
to their own generation; the monuments to those in advance of their
times and of our times, are to be found only in the hearts of thinkers.
It was but yesterday, after some two hundred and fifty years, that
public sentiment tolerated the erection of a public monument to the
memory of the man who delivered his country from under the tyranny of
Kings. Before another similar period has passed away, a similar tribute
may be paid to the memory of those who, during the same tumultuous but
inspiring times, would have saved all future generations of their
countrymen from under the tyranny of Land-Lords.


[90:1] British Museum, Press Mark, 1027, i. 16 (3). We say "mainly from
Winstanley's pen," for though the arguments are his, the style of the
pamphlet, with its long, involved, never-ending sentences, so unlike
Winstanley's crisp, epigrammatic, vigorous style, suggests to us that
the writing was probably left to some other member of his company, or
probably to a Committee appointed for the purpose.

[93:1] This fairly represents the general spirit and feeling prevailing
in the Model Army, who repeatedly contended, to quote the words of the
Declaration of the Army of June 14th, 1647, that--"We are not a mere
mercenary army hired to serve any arbitrary power of a State, but called
forth and conjured by the several Declarations of Parliament to the
defence of our own and the people's just Rights and Liberties; and so we
took up arms in judgment and conscience to those ends, and have so
continued in them, and are resolved according to your first just desires
in your Declarations, and such principles as we have received from your
frequent informations, and our own common sense concerning those our
fundamental rights and liberties, to assert and vindicate the just power
and rights of this Kingdom in Parliament for those common ends promised
against all arbitrary power, violence and oppression, and against all
particular parties or interests whatsoever."

[95:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 552. In the
British Museum Catalogue the Preface is attributed to John Taylor the
Water Poet; but, to judge from his other writings, this is probably an



     "For you must either establish Commonwealth's Freedom in power,
     making provision for everyone's peace, which is Righteousness, or
     else you must set up Monarchy again. Monarchy is twofold, either
     for one king to reign, or for many to rule by kingly principles.
     For the king's power lies in his laws, not in his name. And if
     either one king rule, or many rule by kingly principles, much
     murmuring, grudges, troubles, and quarrels may and will arise among
     the oppressed people upon every gained opportunity."--WINSTANLEY,
     _The Law of Freedom_.

Within a few days of Lord Fairfax's visit to the Diggers, already
recorded, and about two months after the publication of _The True
Levellers Standard Advanced_, Winstanley, on June 9th, 1649, again made
his appearance at the headquarters of the Army, the bearer of a letter,
which, as he tells us, he himself delivered to the Lord General, "who
very mildly promised to read it and consider of it":


     With divers questions to the Lawyers and Ministers: Proving it an
         undeniable equity that the Common People ought to dig, plow,
         plant and dwell upon the Commons without hiring them or paying
         Rent to any.

     Delivered to the General and his Chief Officers, June 9th, 1649, by
         Gerrard Winstanley in the behalf of those who have begun to dig
         upon George Hill in Surrey."

The letter opens as follows:

     "Our digging and ploughing upon George Hill in Surrey is not
     unknown to you, since you have seen some of our persons, and heard
     us speak in defence thereof; and we did receive kindness and
     moderation from you and your Council of War, both when some of us
     were at Whitehall before you, and when you came in person to George
     Hill to view our works. We endeavour to lay open the bottom and
     intent of our business as much as can be, that none may be troubled
     with doubtful imaginations about us, but may be satisfied in the
     sincerity and universal righteousness of the work."

It then continues:

     "We understand that our digging upon that Common is the talk of the
     whole Land, some approving, some disowning; some are friends filled
     with love, and see that the work intends good to the Nation, the
     peace whereof is that which we seek after; others are enemies
     filled with fury, who falsely report of us that we have intent to
     fortify ourselves, and afterwards to fight against others and take
     away their goods from them, which is a thing we abhor. And many
     other slanders we rejoice over, because we know ourselves clear,
     our endeavour being no otherwise but to improve the Commons, and to
     call off that oppression and outward bondage which the Creation
     groans under, as much as in us lies, and to lift up and preserve
     the purity thereof."

Winstanley then declares that their opponents were but "one or two
covetous freeholders that would have all the Commons to themselves, and
that would uphold the Norman tyranny," and still further explains his
position, as follows:

     "We told you, upon a question you put to us, that we were not
     against any that would have Magistrates and Laws to govern, as the
     Nations of the World are governed, but that, for our own parts, we
     shall need neither the one nor the other in that nature of
     government. For as our land is common, so our cattle is to be
     common, and our corn and fruits of the earth common, and are not to
     be bought and sold among us, but to remain a standing portion of
     livelihood to us and our children, without that cheating
     entanglement of buying and selling; and we shall not arrest one
     another. And then what need have we of imprisoning, whipping or
     hanging laws to bring one another into bondage? And we know that
     none of those that are subject to this righteous law dares arrest
     or enslave his brother for or about the objects of the Earth,
     because the Earth is made by our Creator to be a Common Treasury of
     Livelihood to one equal with another, without respect of
     persons.... What need have we of any outward, selfish, confused
     laws, made to uphold the Power of Covetousness, when we have the
     Righteous Law written in our hearts, teaching us to walk purely in
     the Creation."

Winstanley then complains of the action of some of the soldiers, but
expresses the desire that they should not be punished, only cautioned
not to offend again; and states the readiness of himself and companions
to come to headquarters "upon a bare letter." He reiterates his
contention that their demand is only to enjoy freedom "according to the
law of contract between you and us"; freedom to till the common land,
not to trespass upon any enclosures. He continues:

     "We desire that your Lawyers may consider these questions, which we
     affirm to be truths, and which give good assurance, by the law of
     the land, that we that are the younger brothers, or common people,
     have a true right to dig, plow up and dwell upon the Commons, as we
     have declared."


     "1. Did not William the Conqueror dispossess the English, and thus
     cause them to be servants to him?

     "2. Was not King Charles the direct successor of William the First?

     "3. Whether Lords of the Manor were not the successors of the chief
     officers of William the First, holding their rights to the Commons
     by the power of the sword?

     "4. Whether Lords of the Manor have not lost their royalty to the
     common land by the recent victories?

     "5. Whether any laws since the coming in of kings have been made in
     the light of the righteous law of our Creation, _respecting all
     alike_, or have not been grounded upon selfish principles in fear
     or flattery of their king, to uphold freedom in the gentry and
     clergy, and to hold the common people under bondage still, and so
     respecting persons?

     "6. Whether all laws that are not grounded upon equity and reason,
     not giving an universal freedom to all, but respecting persons,
     ought not to be cut off with the king's head? We affirm they ought.
     If all laws be grounded upon equity and reason, then the whole land
     of England is to be a Common Treasury to everyone born in the Land.

     "7. Whether everyone without exception, by the Law of Contract,
     ought not to have liberty to enjoy the earth for his livelihood,
     and to settle his dwelling in any part of the Commons of England,
     without buying or renting land of any, seeing that everyone by
     agreement and covenant among themselves have paid taxes, given
     free-quarter, and adventured their lives to recover England out of
     bondage? We affirm they ought.[103:1]

     "8. Whether the laws that were made in the days of the king do give
     freedom to any but the gentry and clergy?"

Winstanley then puts a string of similar questions to Public Preachers,
"that say they preach the Righteous Law," from which, however, we need
only quote the following:


     "First we demand, Yea or No, Whether the Earth, with her fruits,
     was made to be bought and sold from one to another; And whether one
     part of mankind was made to be a Lord of the Land, and another part
     a servant, by the Law of Creation before the Fall?

     "I affirm (and I challenge you to disprove) that the Earth was made
     to be a Common Treasury of Livelihood for all, without respect of
     persons, and was not made to be bought and sold.... And this being
     a truth, as it is, then none ought to be Lords and Land Lords over
     another, but the Earth is free to every son and daughter of mankind
     to live upon."

And the letter concludes with the following eloquent and heart-stirring

     "Thus I have declared to you and to all the world what that Power
     of Life is that is in me; and knowing that the Spirit of
     Righteousness doth appear to many in this Land, I desire all of you
     seriously, in love and humility, to consider of this business of
     Public Community, which I am carried forth in the Power of Love and
     clear light of Universal Righteousness to advance as much as I can;
     and I can do no other, the Law of Love in my heart does so
     constrain me; by reason whereof I am called fool and madman, and
     have many slanderous reports cast upon me, and meet with much fury
     from some covetous people; under all of which my spirit is made
     patient and is guarded with joy and peace. I hate none, I love all,
     I delight to see everyone live comfortably, I would have none live
     in poverty, straits and sorrows; therefore if you find any
     selfishness in this work, or discover anything that is destructive
     of the whole Creation [Mankind], that you would open your hearts as
     freely to me, in declaring my weakness to me, as I have been
     open-hearted in declaring that which I find and feel much life and
     strength in. But if you see Righteousness in it, and that it holds
     forth the strength of Universal Love to all, without respect to
     persons, so that our Creator is honored in the work of His hand,
     then own it and justify it, and let the Power of Love have his
     freedom and glory."

In his interview with the Diggers, Lord Fairfax had expressed his
intention to leave them to "the Gentlemen of the County and the Law of
the Land." The former soon put the latter in motion, and on July 11th,
1649, the day before Cromwell set out with much pomp and ceremony for
his notorious expedition to Ireland, Winstanley, under circumstances
that will presently be revealed, found himself compelled to address an
eloquent appeal for protection to the House of Commons, long extracts
from which we feel impelled to place before our readers. It appeared in
pamphlet form with the following title-page:


     Desiring their answer whether the Common People shall have the
         quiet enjoyment of the Commons and Waste Land; or whether they
         shall be under the will of Lords of Manors still. Occasioned by
         an Arrest made by Thomas Lord Wenman, Ralph Verney Knight, and
         Richard Winwood Esq. upon the Author hereof, for a Trespass in
         Digging upon the Common Land at Georges Hill in Surrey.


     In the name of all the poor oppressed in the Land of England.

     Unrighteous oppression kindles a flame, but love, righteousness and
         tenderness of heart quenches it again."

With more than his usual directness, Winstanley at once states the
subject of his appeal in the following manner:

     "SIRS,--The cause of this our presentment before you is, an Appeal
     to you desiring you to demonstrate to us, and the whole Land, the
     equity or non-equity of our cause. And that you would either cast
     us by just reason under the feet of those we call Task Masters, or
     Lords of Manors, or else to deliver us out of their tyrannical
     hands: In whose hands by way of Arrest we are for the present, for
     a Trespass to them, as they say, in digging upon the Common Land.
     The settling whereof according to Equity and Reason will quiet the
     minds of the oppressed people; it will be a keeping of our
     National Covenant; it will be a peace to yourselves, and make
     England the most flourishing and strongest Land in the world, and
     the first of Nations that shall begin to give up their Crown and
     Scepter, their dominion and government, into the hands of Jesus

     "The cause is this, we amongst others of the common people, that
     have ever been friends to the Parliament, as we are assured our
     enemies will witness to it, have ploughed and digged upon Georges
     Hill in Surrey, to sow corn for the succour of man, offering no
     offence to any, but do carry ourselves in love and peace towards
     all, having no intent to meddle with any man's enclosures or
     property till it be freely given to us by themselves, but only to
     improve the Commons and waste lands to our best advantage, for the
     relief of ourselves and others, being moved thereunto by the reason
     hereafter following, not expecting any to be much offended, in
     regard the cause is so just and upright.

     "Yet notwithstanding, there be three men (called by the people
     Lords of Manors), viz., Thomas Lord Wenman, Ralph Verney Knight,
     and Richard Winwood Esq., have arrested us for a trespass in
     digging upon the Commons, and upon the arrest we made our
     appearance in Kingstone Court, where we understood we were arrested
     for meddling with other men's rights; and, secondly, they were
     encouraged to arrest us upon your Act of Parliament (as they tell
     us) to maintain the old laws. We desired to plead our own cause,
     the Court denied us, and to fee a lawyer we cannot, for divers
     reasons, as we may show hereafter.

     "Now, Sirs, our case is this, for we appeal to you, for you are the
     only men that we are to deal withal in this business: Whether the
     common people, after all their taxes, free-quarter and loss of
     blood to recover England from under the Norman yoke, shall have the
     freedom to improve the Commons and Waste Lands free to themselves,
     as freely their own as the Enclosures are the propriety of the
     elder brothers? Or whether the Lords of Manors shall have them,
     according to their old custom, from the King's will and grant, and
     so remain Task Masters still over us, which was the people's
     slavery under conquest?

     "We have made our appeal to you to settle this matter in the Equity
     and Reason of it, and to pass the sentence of freedom to us, you
     being the men with whom we have to do in this business, in whose
     hands there is power to settle it, for no Court can end this
     controversy but your Court of Parliament, as the case of this
     Nation now stands."

After emphasising his fundamental contention that in Equity and by the
Law of Righteousness all should have the freedom of the Earth granted
unto them, he summarises the causes that have conspired to place the
Members of the House of Commons in power, as follows:

     "You of the Gentry, as well as we of the Commonalty, all groaned
     under the burden of the bad government and burdening laws of the
     late King Charles, who was the last successor of William the
     Conqueror. You and we cried for a Parliament, and a Parliament was
     called, and wars, you know, presently began between the king that
     represented William the Conqueror and the body of the English
     people that were enslaved. We looked upon you to be our Chief
     Council to agitate business for us, though you were summonsed by
     the king's writ, and choosen by the Freeholders, who are the
     successors of William the Conqueror's soldiers. You saw the danger
     so great that without a war England was likely to be more enslaved,
     therefore you called upon us to assist you with plate, taxes,
     free-quarter and our persons: and you promised us, in the name of
     the Almighty, to make us a Free People. Thereupon you and we took
     the National Covenant with joint consent, to endeavour the freedom,
     peace, and safety of the people of England. And you and we joined
     person and purse together in the common cause, and Will. the
     Conqueror's successor, which was Charles, was cast out; thereby we
     have recovered ourselves from under that Norman yoke. And now
     unless you and we be merely besotted with covetousness, pride and
     slavish fear of men, it is and will be our wisdom to cast out all
     those enslaving laws which was the tyrannical power the king
     pressed us down by.[108:1] O shut not your eyes against the light;
     darken not knowledge by dispute about particular men's privileges,
     when Universal Freedom is brought to be tried before you; dispute
     no further when truth appears, but be silent and practice it. Stop
     not your ears against the secret moanings of the oppressed, under
     these expressions, lest the Lord see it and be offended, and shut
     His eyes against your cries, and work a deliverance for His waiting
     people some other way than by you."

He then summarises the prevailing ills, and indicates their manifest and
immediate duty, as follows:

     "The main thing that you should look upon is the Land, which calls
     upon her children to be free from the entanglements of the Norman
     Taskmasters. For one third part lies waste and barren, and her
     children starve for want, in regard the Lords of Manors will not
     suffer the poor to manure it.... The power is in your hands, the
     Nations Representative, O let the first thing you do be this, to
     set the land free. Let the Gentry have their enclosures free from
     all enslaving entanglements whatsoever, and let the Common People
     have the Commons and Waste Lands set free to them from all Norman
     enslaving Lords of Manors. That so both Elder and Younger Brother,
     as we spring successively one from another, may live free and quiet
     one by and with another in this Land of our Nativity." "This
     thing," he then boldly declares, "you are bound to see done, or at
     least to endeavour it, before another Representative force you;
     otherwise you cannot discharge your trust to God and man." And the
     Appeal concludes with the following words: "Set the Land free from
     oppression, and righteousness will be the Laws, Government, and
     Strength of that People."

The Long Parliament, however, were too busy carrying English
civilisation into Ireland to heed his words. And yet surely there was
work enough for them to do in their own country, in which, as we have
already pointed out, since the reign of Henry the Seventh the condition
of the masses of the people had steadily worsened, and, as a natural
consequence, the number of beggars, "rogues and vagrants," despite
barbarous laws, involving their wholesale hanging, had steadily
increased. During the reign of James the First, in a pamphlet entitled
_Grievous Groans of the Poor_, published 1622, we hear the complaint
that "the number of the poor do daily increase." The only remedy the
then wise men of England could devise was to make the laws against them
still more severe. Consequently it was ordered that the first time such
people were apprehended they should be branded with the letter R, and if
subsequently again found begging or wandering they were "to suffer death
without benefit of Clergy." Yet such was their obstinacy that they still
increased in numbers; and that for the simple reason that the economic
or social causes of which they were but the inevitable outcome were not

During all this period, however, the country was developing, its
industry and commerce expanding, and its wealth increasing by leaps and
bounds; but in all this the "meaner sort," the Younger Brothers, the
disinherited masses, had neither lot nor share. Though Clarendon may
speak of the growing economical prosperity of the country during the
time of which we are writing, yet there be no doubt of the truth of
Thorold Rogers' contention, that[109:1]--"I am convinced from the
comparison I have been able to make between wages, rents and prices,
that it was a period of excessive misery among the mass of the people
and the tenants, a time in which a few might have become rich, while the
many were crushed down into hopeless and almost permanent indigence."
And yet the facts are such as to compel him, when speaking of the
Restoration, to point out that[110:1]--"the labourers, as far as the
will went, were better off under the rule of the Saints than under that
of the sinners."

The English land-system, as we know it to-day, really began with the
Restoration, when the very memory of Winstanley and his doctrines was
swept away, when the men of the Model Army found themselves powerless,
while "the great and wise men" of the nation "set up Monarchy again,"
humbly prostrating themselves at the feet of a licentious, cynical
debauchee, and the Landocracy, new and old, found themselves in the
saddle with far greater political power than they had ever before
enjoyed. They soon found means of fastening their yoke more firmly than
ever on the necks of the people, and of making short work of any claims
of an independent yeomanry to any right to the soil of their native
country apart from their good-will and pleasure. After some effort, they
passed a Statute under which the estates of such of the free-holders as
had no documentary evidence by which to support their titles, were
confiscated and turned into tenancies at will. By means of Enclosure
Acts they still further plundered and impoverished the peasantry, by
appropriating to themselves millions of acres of land over which these
still had some right, some enjoyment. By means of the Law of Parochial
Settlement, as Thorold Rogers repeatedly points out,[110:2] they
"consummated the degradation of the labourer"; and made him, as it has
left him, what the same impartial authority well terms "the most
portentous phenomenon in agriculture, a serf without land." By means of
their Financial Policy they rid themselves of the duties which
originally accompanied the privilege of land-holding, viz. to provide
the necessary public revenues for all defence purposes, and converted
themselves from Land Holders into Land Owners, by shifting the burden
of taxation to the food, industry, and handicraft of those they had
despoiled and disinherited. And, finally, for the first time in the
history of England, they passed a Corn Law artificially to increase
their rents, at the cost and to the detriment, often to the starvation,
of the masses of the people. From the effect of these laws the people of
Great Britain have not yet been able entirely to recover themselves,
though since 1824 they have made heroic steps to do so. With this
portion of the history, we had almost written of the martyrdom, of the
English people we are not here directly concerned. Manifestly it would
have been very different had the Long Parliament listened to
Winstanley's appeal, or had his self-sacrificing efforts been crowned
with the success they so well deserved.


[100:1] Thomasson's Tracts. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 560 (1).
Reprinted in the _Harleian Miscellany_, vol. ii. p. 485.

[103:1] Others, in far more influential positions than Winstanley and
his comrades, gave forcible expression to much the same views. In the
debates of the Army Council on the Agreement of the People, on November
1647, Edward Sexby, the Agitator or Representative of the private
soldiers, an able, daring, and energetic man, replying to Ireton, on the
question of the right to vote, said: "We have engaged in this kingdom
and ventured our lives, and it was all for this: to recover our
birthrights and privileges as Englishmen; and by the arguments urged,
there are none. There are many thousands of us soldiers that have
ventured our lives, we have had little propriety in the kingdom as to
our estates, yet we have had a birthright. But it seems now that except
a man hath a fixed estate in this kingdom, he hath no right in this
kingdom. I wonder we were so deceived. If we had not a right to the
kingdom, we were mere mercenary soldiers. There are men in my position,
it may be little estate they have at present, and yet they have as much
a birthright as those two who are their law-givers, or as any in this
place." During the same debate Colonel Rainborrow said: "I think that
the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest
he." And, also in reply to Ireton, he subsequently declared: "Sir, I see
that it is impossible to have liberty but all property must be taken
away.... If you will say it, it must be so. But I would fain know what
the soldier hath fought for all this while? He hath fought to enslave
himself, to give power to men of riches, to men of estate, and to make
himself a perpetual slave."--See _Clarke Papers_, vol. i. pp. 322-323,

[105:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 564. Also at
the Guildhall Library. The Ralph Verney mentioned is the hero of _The
Verney Memoirs_: there is, however, no mention of this incident therein.

[106:1] This argument would scarcely have appealed to Ireton, who during
the debate of the Army Council frankly declared that in his opinion--"It
was not the business of Jesus Christ, when he came into the world, to
create Kingdoms of the World, and Magistracies and Monarchies, or to
give the rule of them, positive or negative."--See _Clarke Papers_, vol.
ii. p. 101.

[108:1] Colonel Rainborrow, who with Sexby and Wildman represented on
the Army Council the private soldiers of the Model Army, during the
debate on the right of voting, gave expression to the view that some
fundamental changes in the laws of the Land were both necessary and
justifiable, in the following words: "I hear it said, 'It's a huge
alteration it's a bringing in of new laws.' ... If writings be true,
there hath been many scuttlings between the honest men of England and
those that have tyrannised over them. And if what I have read be true,
there is none of those just and equitable laws that the people of
England are born to, but were once intrenchments [but were once
innovations]. But if they [the existing laws] were those which the
people have been always under, if the people find that they are not
suitable to freeman, I know no reason that should deter me, either in
what I must answer before God or the world, from endeavouring by all
means to gain anything that might be of more advantage to them than the
government under which they live."--_Clarke Papers_, vol. i. p. 247.

[109:1] _Economic Interpretation of History_, p. 138.

[110:1] _Economic Interpretation of History_, p. 241.

[110:2] _Six Centuries of Work and Wages_, pp. 432-433.



     "All men have stood for Freedom; thou hast kept fasting-days and
     prayed in the morning exercises for Freedom; thou hast given thanks
     for victories because hopes of Freedom; plenty of Petitions and
     Promises thereupon have been made for Freedom. But now the common
     enemy is gone, you are all like men in a mist seeking for Freedom,
     but know not where nor what it is.... Assure yourselves, if you
     pitch not now upon the right point of Freedom in action, as your
     Covenant hath it in words, you will wrap up your children in
     greater slavery than ever you were in."--WINSTANLEY, _A Watchword
     to the City of London_.

The House of Commons, as we have seen, took no notice of Winstanley's
dignified appeal, hence, within a week of its publication in pamphlet
form, Winstanley, on August 26th, 1649, addressed himself to the City of
London, at that time the stronghold of advanced political and religious
thought. The pamphlet, which is one of the most interesting he ever
wrote, appeared the following month: the title-page reads as follows:


     Wherein you may see that England's Freedom, which should be the
         result of all our Victories, is sinking deeper under the Norman
         Power, as appears by this Relation of the unrighteous
         proceedings of Kingston Court against some of the Diggers at
         George Hill, under colour of law; but yet thereby the cause of
         the Diggers is more brightened and strengthened, so that every
         one singly may truly say what his Freedom is and where it lies.


    When these clay bodies are in grave, and children stand in place,
    This shows we stood for truth and peace and freedom in our days;
    And true-born sons we shall appear of England that's our Mother,
    No Priests nor Lawyers wiles t'embrace, their slavery we'll discover."

This pamphlet, too, commences with a Dedicatory Letter, which opens as

     "TO THE CITY OF LONDON,--Freedom and Peace desired,--{6}Thou City
     of London, I am one of thy sons by freedom, and I do truly love thy
     peace. While I had an estate in thee, I was free to offer my Mite
     into thy Public Treasury, Guildhall, for a preservation to thee and
     to the whole Land. But by thy cheating sons in the thieving art of
     buying and selling, and by the burdens of and for the soldiery in
     the beginning of the War, I was beaten out of both estate and
     trade, and forced to accept of the good-will of friends, crediting
     of me, to live a Country life. There likewise by the burthen of
     Taxes and much Free Quarter my weak back found the burthen heavier
     than I could bear. Yet in all the passages of these eight years
     troubles, I have been willing to lay out what my talent was, to
     procure England's peace inward and outward; and yet all along I
     have found such as in words have professed the same cause to be
     enemies to me."

It then briefly summarises Winstanley's past actions, as well as the
causes that inspired them, and the position in which he finds himself in
consequence thereof, as follows:

     "Not a full year since, being quiet at my work, my heart was filled
     with sweet thoughts, and many things were revealed to me which I
     never read in books, nor heard from the mouth of any flesh. When I
     began to speak of them some people could not bear my words. Amongst
     these revelations this was one, _That the Earth shall be made a
     Common Treasury of Livelihood to whole mankind without respect of

     "And I had a voice within me that bade me declare it by word all
     abroad, which I did obey, for I declared it by word of mouth
     wheresoever I came. Then I was made to write a little book called
     the New Law of Righteousness, and therein I declared it. Yet my
     mind was not at rest, because nothing was acted; and thoughts ran
     in me that words and writings were all nothing and must die; for
     action is the life of all, and if thou dost not act, thou dost

     "Within a little time I was made obedient to the word in that
     particular likewise. For I took my spade and went and broke the
     ground upon George Hill in Surrey, thereby declaring Freedom to the
     Creation, and that the Earth must be set free from entanglement of
     Lords and Land Lords, and that it shall become a Common Treasury to
     all, as it was first made and given to the sons of men.

     "For which doing ... the old Norman Prerogative Lord of that Manor
     caused me to be arrested for a trespass against him in digging upon
     that barren Heath. And the unrighteous proceedings of Kingston
     Court I have declared to thee and to the whole Land that you may
     consider the case England is in."

The Dedicatory Letter concludes as follows:

     "I have declared this truth to the Army and Parliament, and now I
     have declared it to thee likewise, that none of you that are the
     fleshy strength of this Land may be left without excuse: for now
     you have been all spoken to. And because I have obeyed the voice of
     the Lord in this thing, therefore do the Freeholders and Lords of
     Manors seek to oppress me in the outward livelihood of the world,
     but I am in peace. And London, nay England, look to thy Freedom. I
     assure you thou art very near to be cheated of it, and if thou lose
     it now after all thy boasting, truly thy posterity will curse thee
     for thy unfaithfulness to them. Everyone talks of Freedom, but
     there are but few that act for Freedom, and the actors for Freedom
     are oppressed by the talkers and verbal professors of Freedom. If
     thou wouldst know what true Freedom is, read over this and other of
     my writings, and thou shalt see it lies in the Community in Spirit
     and Community in the Earthly Treasury; and this is Christ, the true
     manchild, spread abroad in the Creation, restoring all things unto
     himself. And so I leave thee, Being a free Denizon of thee, and a
     true lover of thy peace.

                                              JERRARD WINSTANLEY.
     "_August 26th, 1649._"

The pamphlet commences with a short and business-like account of the
proceedings at Kingston Court, as follows:

     "Whereas we, Henry Bickerstaffe, Thomas Star and Jerrard
     Winstanley, were arrested into Kingston Court by Thomas Wenman,
     Ralph Verney, and Richard Winwood, for a trespass in digging upon
     George Hill in Surrey, being the right of Mr. Drake, Lord of that
     Manor, as they say, we all three did appear the first Court-day of
     our arrest, and demanded of the Court, What was laid to our
     charge? and to give answer thereunto ourselves. But the answer of
     your Court was this, that you would not tell us what the trespass
     was, unless we would fee an Attorney to speak for us. We told them
     we were to plead our own cause, for we knew no Lawyer that we could
     trust with this business. We desired a copy of the Declaration, and
     profered to pay for it, but still you denied us unless we would fee
     an Attorney. But in conclusion the Recorder of your Court told us
     that the cause was not entered. We appeared two Court-days after
     this, and desired to see the Declaration, and still you denied us
     unless we would fee an Attorney, so greedy are these Attornies
     after money, more than to justify a righteous cause. We told them
     that we could not fee any unless we would wilfully break our
     National Covenant, which both Parliament and People have taken
     jointly together to effect a Reformation. And unless we would be
     professed Traitors to the Nation and Common-wealth of England, by
     upholding the old Norman tyrannical and destructive Laws, when they
     are to be cast out of equity, and reason to be the Moderator.

     "Then seeing that you would not suffer us to speak, one of us
     brought the following writing into Court, that you might read our
     answer. Because we would acknowledge all righteous proceedings in
     Law, though some slander us and say we deny all Law, because we
     deny the corruption of Law, and endeavour a Reformation in our
     place and calling, according to that National Covenant. And we know
     if your Laws were built upon equity and reason, you ought both to
     have heard us speak, and to have read our answer. For that is no
     righteous Law, whereby to keep a Common-wealth in peace, when one
     sort shall be suffered to speak and not another, as you deal with
     us, to pass sentence and execution upon us, before both sides be
     heard to speak. This principle in the forehead of your Laws
     foretells destruction to this Common-wealth. For it declares that
     the Laws that follow such refusal are selfish and thievish and full
     of murder, protecting all that get money by their Laws, and
     crushing all others.

     "The writer hereof does require Mr. Drake, and he is a Parliament
     man, therefore a man counted able to speak rationally, to plead
     this cause of digging with me.[115:1] And if he show a just and
     rational title that Lords of Manors have to the Commons, and that
     they have a just power from God to call it their right, shutting
     out others, then I will write as much against it as ever I wrote
     for this cause. [A heavy forfeit, truly!] But if I show by the Law
     of Righteousness that the poorest man hath as good a title and just
     right to the Land as the richest man, and that undeniably the Earth
     ought to be a Common Treasury of Livelihood for all without
     respecting persons; then I shall require no more of Mr. Drake but
     that he would justify our cause of digging, and declare abroad that
     the Commons ought to be free to all sorts, and that it is a great
     trespass before the Lord God Almighty for one to hinder another of
     his liberty to dig the earth, that he might feed and clothe himself
     with the fruits of his labor thereupon freely, without owning any
     Land Lord or paying any Rent to any person of his own kind."

After this perfectly safe challenge, he continues:

     "I sent this following answer to the Arrest in writing into
     Kingston Court:

     "In four passages your Court hath gone contrary to the
     righteousness of your own Statute Laws. For, _First_, it is
     mentioned in 36 Edward III. 15 that no Process, Warrant or Arrest
     should be served till after the cause was recorded and entered. But
     your Bailiff either could not or would not tell us the cause when
     he arrested us, and Mr. Rogers, your Recorder, told us the first
     Court-day we appeared that our cause was not entered.

     "_Secondly_, We appeared two other Court-days, and desired a copy
     of the Declaration, and profered to pay for it, and you denied us.
     This is contrary to equity and reason, which is the foundation your
     Laws are or should be built upon, if you would have England to be a
     Common-wealth, and stand in peace.

     "_Thirdly_, We desired to plead our own cause, and you denied us,
     but told us we must fee an Attorney to speak for us, or else you
     would mark us in default for not appearance. This is contrary to
     your own Laws likewise, for in 28 Edward I. chapter ii. there is
     freedom given to a man to speak for himself, or else he may choose
     his father, friend or neighbour to speak for him, without the help
     of any other Lawyer.

     "_Fourthly_, You have granted a judgement against us, and are
     proceeding to an execution, and this is contrary likewise to your
     own laws, which say that no plaint ought to be received or
     judgement passed, till the cause be heard, and witnesses present,
     to testify the plaint to be true, as Sir Edward Coke, 2nd part of
     Institutes upon the 29 chap. of Magna Charta, fol. 51-53. The
     Mirror of Justice."

Then, as if ashamed of appealing to mere conventional man-made Laws, he
at once acknowledges what he and his comrades have done, and justifies
their action in the following dignified words:

     "But that all men may see that we are neither ashamed nor afraid to
     justify that cause we are arrested for, neither to refuse to answer
     to it in a righteous way, therefore we have here delivered this up
     in writing, and we leave it in your hands, disavowing the
     proceedings of your Court, because you uphold prerogative
     oppression, though the kingly office be taken away, and the
     Parliament hath declared England a Common-wealth, so that
     prerogative cannot be in force, unless you be besotted by your
     covetousness and envy.

     "We deny that we have trespassed against those three men, or Mr.
     Drake either, or that we should trespass against any, if we should
     dig up and plough for a livelihood upon any of the waste land in
     England. For thereby we break no particular Law made by any Act of
     Parliament, but only an ancient custom bred in the strength of
     kingly prerogative, which is that old Law or Custom by which Lords
     of Manors lay claim to the Commons, which is of no force now to
     bind the people of England, since the kingly power and office was
     cast out. And the Common People who have cast out the oppressor, by
     their purse and person, have not authorised any as yet to give away
     from them their purchased freedom; and if any assume a power to
     give away or withhold this purchased freedom, they are Traitors to
     this Common-wealth of England; and if they imprison, oppress, or
     put to death any for standing to maintain this purchased freedom,
     they are murderers and thieves, and no just rulers.

     "Therefore in the light of Reason and Equity, and in the light of
     the National Covenant which Parliament and People have taken with
     joint consent, all such prerogative customs, which by experience we
     have found to burden the Nation, ought to be cast out with the
     kingly office, and the Land of England now ought to be a Free Land
     and a Common Treasury to all her children, otherwise it cannot
     properly be called a Common-wealth."

He then continues:

     "Therefore we justify our act of digging upon that Hill to make the
     Earth a Common Treasury. First, because the Earth was made by
     Almighty God to be a Common Treasury of Livelihood to the whole of
     mankind in all its branches, without respect of persons....
     Secondly, because all sorts of people have lent assistance of purse
     and person to cast out the kingly order as being a burden that
     England groaned under. Therefore those from whom money and blood
     were received, ought to obtain freedom in the Land to themselves
     and posterity, by the Law of Contract between Parliament and
     People. But all sorts, poor as well as rich, Tenant as well as Land
     Lord, have paid taxes, free-quarter, excise, or adventured their
     lives to cast out the kingly office. Therefore all sorts of people
     ought to have freedom in this the Land of their Nativity, without
     respecting persons, now that kingly power is cast out by their
     joint assistance.... Therefore, in that we do dig upon that Hill,
     we do not thereby take away other men's rights, nor demand of this
     Court, nor from the Parliament, what is theirs and not ours. But we
     demand our own to be set free to us, and to them, out of the
     tyrannical oppression of ancient customs of kingly prerogative; and
     let us have no more gods to rule over us, but the King of
     Righteousness only.

     "Therefore, as the Freeholders claim a quietness and freedom in
     their enclosures, as it is fit they should have, so we that are
     younger brothers, or the poor oppressed, we claim our freedom in
     the Commons; that so elder and younger brother may live quietly and
     in peace, together freed from the straits of poverty and oppression
     in this Land of our Nativity."

His written address to the Court at Kingston concludes as follows:

     "Thus we have in writing declared in effect what we should say, if
     we had liberty to speak before you, declaring withal that your
     Court cannot end this controversy in that equity and reason of it
     which we stand to maintain. Therefore we have appealed to the
     Parliament, who have received our Appeal and promised an answer,
     and we wait for it. And we leave this with you, and let Reason and
     Righteousness be our Judge. Therefore we hope you will do nothing
     rashly, but seriously consider of this cause before you proceed to
     execution upon us."

Of course, the Court paid no heed to his pleadings, and he details the
subsequent proceedings in the following business-like manner:

     "Well, this same writing was delivered into their Court, but they
     cast it out again, and would not read it, and all because I would
     not fee an Attorney. And then the Court-day following, before there
     was any trial of our cause, for there was none suffered to speak
     but the Plaintiff, they passed a judgement, and after that an
     execution. Now their Jury was made of rich Freeholders, and such as
     stand strongly for the Norman power. And though our digging upon
     that barren Common hath done the Common good, yet this Jury brings
     in damages of £10 a man, and the charges of the Plaintiff in their
     Court, twenty-nine shillings and a penny: and this was their
     sentence and the passing of the execution upon us."

Winstanley then mentions one instance descriptive of the way he and his
comrades were "boycotted" by his neighbours, and of the men responsible
therefor. He says:

     "Before the report of our digging was much known, I bought three
     acres of grass from a Lord of the Manor, whom I will not here name
     because I know the counsel of others made him prove false to me.
     For when the time came to mow, I brought money to pay him
     beforehand, but he answered me that I should not have it, and sold
     it to another before my face. This was because his Parish Priest
     and the Surrey Ministers have bid the people neither to buy nor to
     sell us, but to beat us, imprison us, or to banish us."

He then relates that two days later "they sent to execute the execution,
and they put Harry Bickerstaffe in prison, but after three days Mr.
Drake released him again, Bickerstaffe not knowing of it till the
release came. They seek after Thomas Star to imprison his body, who is
a poor man, not worth ten pounds." He continues:

     "Then they came privately by day to Gerrard Winstanley's house and
     drove away four cows, I not knowing of it. They took away the cows
     which were my livelihood, and beat them with their clubs that the
     cows' heads and sides did swell, which grieved tender hearts to
     see. And yet," he pathetically but somewhat humourously adds,
     "these cows never were upon George Hill, nor never digged upon that
     ground, and yet the poor beasts must suffer because they gave milk
     to feed me. But strangers made rescue of those cows, and drove them
     astray out of the Bailiffs' hands, so that the Bailiffs lost them.
     But before the Bailiffs had lost the cows, I, hearing of it, went
     to them and said--'Here is my body, take me, that I may speak to
     those Normans that have stolen our land from us; and let the cows
     go, for they are none of mine.' After some time, they telling me
     they had nothing against my body, it was my goods they were to
     have. Then said I, 'Take my goods, for the cows are not mine.'"

Here follows one of the most touching passages to which Winstanley ever
set pen:

     "And so I went away and left them, being quiet in my heart, and
     filled with comfort within myself, that the King of Righteousness
     would cause this to work for the advancing of His own cause, which
     I prefer above estate and livelihood. Saying within my heart as I
     went along, that if I could not get meat to eat, I would feed upon
     bread, milk and cheese. And if they take the cows, and I cannot
     feed on this, or hereby make a breach between me and him that owns
     the cows, then I'll feed upon bread and beer, till the King of
     Righteousness clears up my innocency and the justice of His own
     cause. And if this be taken from me for maintaining His cause, then
     I'll stand still and see what He will do with me; for as yet I know

     "Saying likewise within my heart as I was walking along--O thou
     King of Righteousness, show thy power and do thy work thyself, and
     free thy people now from under this heavy bondage of misery. And
     the answer in my heart was satisfactory, and full of sweet joy and
     peace: and so I said, Father, do what thou wilt, for this cause is
     thine, and thou knowest that the love to righteousness makes me do
     what I do."

He then continues:

     "I was made to appeal to the Father of Life in the speakings of my
     heart likewise thus--Father, thou knowst that what I have writ or
     spoken concerning this light, that the Earth should be restored and
     become a Common Treasury for all mankind, without respect of
     persons, was thy free revelation to me, I never read it in any
     book, I heard it from no mouth of flesh, till I understood it from
     thy teaching first within me. I did not study nor imagine the
     conceit of it; self-love to my own particular body does not carry
     me along in the managing of this business; but the power of love
     flowing forth to the liberty and peace of thy whole Creation, to
     enemies as well as to friends: nay, towards those who oppress me,
     endeavouring to make me a beggar to them. And since I did obey thy
     voice, to speak and act this truth, I am hated, reproached and
     oppressed on every side. Such as make professions of thee, yet
     revile me. And though they see I cannot fight with fleshy weapons,
     yet they will strive with me by that power. And so I see, Father,
     that England yet doth choose rather to fight with the Sword of Iron
     and Covetousness than with the Sword of the Spirit, which is Love.
     And what thy purpose is with this Land or with my body, I know not,
     but establish thy power in me, and then do what pleases thee.

     "These and such like sweet thoughts dwelt in my heart as I went
     along; and I feel myself now like a man in a storm, standing under
     shelter upon a hill in peace, waiting till the storm be over to see
     the end of it, and of many other things that my eye is fixed upon."

The pamphlet concludes as follows:

     "You have arrested us for digging upon the common land, you have
     executed your unrighteous power, in destraining cattle, imprisoning
     our bodies, and yet our cause was never publicly heard, neither can
     it be proved that we broke any Law that is built upon equity and
     reason. Therefore we wonder whence you had your power to rule over
     us by will, more than we to rule over you by our will.... We
     request that you would let us have a fair open trial.... let your
     Ministers plead with us in the Scriptures, and let your Lawyers
     plead with us as to the equity and reason of your own Law. And if
     you prove us transgressors, then we shall lay down our work and
     acknowledge that we have trespassed against you in digging upon the
     Commons, and then punish us. But if we prove by Scripture and
     Reason that undeniably the Land belongs to one as well as another,
     then you shall own our work, justify our cause, and declare that
     you have done wrong to Christ, who you say is your Lord and Master,
     in abusing us His servants and your fellow-creatures, while we are
     doing His work. Therefore, knowing you to be men of moderation in
     outward show, I desire that your actions towards your
     fellow-creatures may not be like one beast to another, but carry
     yourselves like man to man, for your proceeding in your pretence of
     Law hitherto against us is both unrighteous, beastly, and devilish,
     and nothing of the spirit of man seen in it. You Attornies and
     Lawyers, you say you are Ministers of Justice, and we know that
     equity and reason is or ought to be the foundation of Law. If so,
     then plead not for money altogether, but stand for Universal
     Justice and Equity: then you will have peace; otherwise both you
     and the corrupt Clergy will be cast out as unsavoury salt."

As will have been seen from the above, and as we shall show more fully
later on, the little company of Diggers were having a rather troublesome
time. Within two days of the delivery of their first letter to Lord
Fairfax, on June 11th, some of them were grievously assaulted by two of
the local freeholders, accompanied by men in women's garments; but,
according to their own account, they made no attempt to defend
themselves.[122:1] In November of the same year the agitation against
their doings was revived, or became more acute, and early in December
they found themselves compelled again to appeal to Lord Fairfax for
protection.[122:2] After having recapitulated their main arguments, this
letter continues:

     "Now, Sirs, divers repulses we have had from some of the Lords of
     Manors and their servants, with whom we are patient and loving, not
     doubting but at last they will grant liberty quietly to live by
     them. And though your tenderness hath moved us to be requesting
     your protection against them, yet we have forborne, and rather
     waited upon God with patience till he quell their unruly
     spirits.... In regard likewise the soldiers did not molest us, for
     that you told us when some of us were before you, that you had
     given command to your soldiers not to meddle with us, but resolved
     to leave us to the Gentlemen of the County and to the Law of the
     Land to deal with us, which we were satisfied with, and for this
     half-year past your soldiers have not meddled with us.

     "But now, Sirs, this last week, upon the 28th of November, there
     came a party of soldiers commanded by a Cornet, and some of them of
     your own regiment, and by their threatening words forced three
     labouring men to help them to pull down our two houses, and carried
     away the wood in a cart to a Gentleman's house, who hath been a
     Cavalier all our time of war, and cast two or three old people out
     who lived in those houses to lie in the open fields this cold
     weather (an act more becoming Turks to deal with Christians than
     for one Christian to deal with another). But if you inquire into
     the business you will find that the Gentlemen who set the soldiers
     on are enemies to you, for some of the chief had hands in the
     Kentish rising against the Parliament, and we know, and you will
     find it true if you trust them so far, that they love you but from
     the teeth outward.

     "Therefore our request to you is this, that you would call your
     soldiers to account for attempting to abuse us without your
     commission, that the Country may know that you had no hand in such
     an unrighteous and cruel act. Likewise we desire that you would
     continue your former kindness and promise to give commission to
     your soldiers not to meddle with us without your order."

As we shall presently see, nothing more discouraged the little company
of Diggers than the assistance given to their enemies by the soldiery.
Lord Fairfax, however, had no free hand in this matter; the Council of
State had again received information of what was termed "a tumultuous
meeting at Cobham," which the ordinary power at the disposal of the
local Justices of the Peace "was not sufficient to disperse," and had
consequently sent Lord Fairfax definite instructions to send "such horse
as you may think fit to march to that place."[124:1] This information
had evidently come to Winstanley's knowledge. He had not signed the
foregoing letter, so felt himself at liberty to supplement it by another
and more forcible one, which opens as follows:



     "SIR,--I understand that Mr. Parson Platt with some other gentlemen
     have made report to you and the Council of State that we that are
     called Diggers are a riotous people, and that we will not be ruled
     by the Justices, and that we hold a man's house by violence from
     him, and that we have four guns in it to secure ourselves, and that
     we are drunkards, and Cavaliers waiting an opportunity to bring in
     the Prince, and such like. Truly, Sir, these are all untrue
     reports, and as false as those which Hamaan of old brought against
     sincere-hearted Mordecai to incense king Ahasuerus against him. The
     conversation of the Diggers is not such as they report; we are
     peaceable men and walk in the light of righteousness to the utmost
     of our power."

He then expounds their aims, and justifies their action in the manner
with which our readers will by now be familiar, and continues:

     "We know that England cannot be a free Common-wealth, unless all
     the poor Commoners have a free use and benefit of the land. For if
     this freedom be not granted, we that are the poor commoners are in
     a worse case than we were in the King's days; for then we had some
     estate about us, though we were under oppression, but now our
     estates are spent to purchase freedom, and we are under oppression
     still of Lords of Manors tyranny. Therefore unless we that are poor
     commoners have some part of the land to live upon freely, as well
     as the Gentry, it cannot be a Common-wealth, neither can the kingly
     power be removed so long as this kingly power in the hands of Lords
     of Manors rules over us.

     "Now, Sir, if you and the Council will quietly grant us this
     freedom, which is our own right, and set us free from the kingly
     power of Lords of Manors, that violently now as in the king's days
     hold the commons from us (as if we had obtained no conquest at all
     over the kingly power), then the poor that lie under the great
     burden of poverty, and are always complaining for want, and their
     miseries increase because they see no means of relief found out,
     and therefore cry out continually to you and the Parliament for
     relief, and to make good your promises, will be quieted.

     "We desire no more of you than freedom to work, and to enjoy the
     benefit of our labors--for here is waste land enough and to spare
     to supply all our wants. But if you deny this freedom, then in
     righteousness we must raise collections for the poor out of the
     estates, and a mass of money will not supply their wants. Many are
     in want that are ashamed to take collection money, and therefore
     they are desperate, and would rather rob and steal and disturb the
     land, and others that are ashamed to beg would do any work for to
     live, as it is the case of many of our Diggers, who have been good
     housekeepers. But if this freedom were granted to improve the
     common lands, then there would be a supply to answer everyone's
     inquire, and the murmurings of the people against you and the
     Parliament would cease, and within a few years we should have no
     beggars nor idle persons in the land.

     "_Secondly_, Hereby England would be enriched with all commodities
     within itself which they each would afford. And truly this is a
     stain to Christian religion in England [a stain not yet removed]
     that we have so much land lie waste and so many starve for want.
     Further, if this freedom be granted, the whole Land will be united
     in love and strength, that if a foreign enemy, like an army of rats
     and mice, come to take our inheritance from us, we shall all rise
     as one man to defend it.

     "Then, lastly, if you will grant the poor commoners this quiet
     freedom to improve the common land for our livelihood, we shall
     rejoice in you and the Army in protecting our work, and we and our
     work will be ready to secure that, and we hope that there will not
     be any kingly power over us, to rule at will and we to be slaves,
     as the power has been, but that you will rule in love as Moses and
     Joshua did the children of Israel before any kingly power came in,
     and that the Parliament will be as the elders of Israel, chosen
     freely by the people to advise for and to assist both you and us.

     "And thus in the name of the rest of those called Diggers and
     Commoners through the land, I have in short declared our mind and
     cause to you in the light of righteousness, which will prove all
     these reports made against us to be false and destructive to the
     uniting of England into peace.

     "Per me Gerrard Winstanley, for myself and in the behalf of my
     fellow commoners.

     "_December the 8th, 1649._"

Amongst Winstanley's disciples was one Robert Coster, who appears to
have been the poet of the Digger Movement, and the next pamphlet which
issued from their camp, on December 18th, some ten days after the date
affixed to the above vigorous letter, was from his pen. It is entitled:

     "_A Mite cast into the Common Treasury_:[126:1] Or Queries
     propounded (for all Men to consider of) by him who desireth to
     advance the work of Public Community. By Robert Coster."

In it Coster first recapitulates Winstanley's main arguments and
contentions, and then shows that he for one fully realised their
far-reaching scope, by indicating their probable effects in the
following words:

     "As, 1. If men would do as aforesaid rather than to go with cap in
     hand and bended knee to Gentlemen and Farmers, begging and
     entreating to work with them for 8d. or 10d. a day, which doth give
     them an occasion to tyrannise over poor people, who are their
     fellow-creatures; if poor men would not go in such a slavish
     posture, but do as aforesaid, the rich Farmers would be weary of
     renting so much land of the Lords of Manors.

     "2. If the Lords of Manors and other Gentlemen who covet after so
     much land, could not let it out by parcels, but must be constrained
     to keep it in their own hands, then would they want those great
     bags of money (which do maintain pride, idleness and fullness of
     bread) which are carried in to them by the Tenants, who go in as
     slavish a posture as well may be, namely, with cap in hand and
     bended knee, crouching and creeping from corner to corner, while
     his Lord (rather Tyrant) walks up and down the room with his proud
     looks, and with great swelling words questions him about his

     "3. If the Lords of Manors and other Gentlemen had not those great
     bags of money brought to them, then down would fall the lordliness
     of their spirits, and then poor men might speak to them, and there
     might be an acknowledging of one another to be Fellow-Creatures.

     "For what is the reason that great gentlemen covet after so much
     land? Is it not because Farmers and others creep to them in a
     slavish manner, profering them so much money for such and such
     parcels of it, which doth give them occasion to tyrannise over
     their Fellow-Creatures, which they call their Inferiors?

     "And what is the reason that Farmers and others are so greedy to
     rent land of the Lords of Manors? Is it not because they expect
     great gains, and because poor men are so foolish and slavish as to
     creep to them for employment, although they will not give them
     money enough to maintain themselves and their families comfortably?
     All which do give them an occasion to tyrannise over their
     Fellow-Creatures, which they call their Inferiors.

     "All which considered, if poor men which want employment and others
     which work for little wages would go to dress and improve the
     Commons and Waste Lands, whether it would not bring down the price
     of Land, which doth principally cause all things to be dear?"

The pamphlet concludes with the following lines:

     "The Nation is in such a state as this,
     to honor rich men because they are rich;
     And poor men, because poor, most do them hate.
     O, but this is a very cursed state;
     But those who act from love which is sincere,
     will honor truth wherever it doth appear.
     And no respecting of persons will be with such,
     but tyranny they will abhor in poor and rich.
     And in this state is he whose name is here,
     your very loving friend, Robert Costeer."

By way of appendix the author adds a long poem, of nine verses, entitled
"A Digger's Ballad," of which the following verse, the last one, will
give our readers a sufficient idea:

     "The glorious state
         which I do relate
     Unspeakable comfort shall bring,
     The corn will be green
         and the flowers seen,
     Our Storehouses they will be filled.
     The birds will rejoice
         with a merry voice,
     All things shall yield sweet increase.
     Then let us all sing
         and joy in our King,
     Who causeth all sorrows to cease."

As will be seen in the following chapter, the time the above pamphlet
was published was one of great anxiety in the brave little community
which had ventured so much to lay the foundations of a better society
than ever they knew, of a Social State based upon Justice, in which all
should equally enjoy the benefits of their Creation. They had thrown
their little possessions into a Common Treasury; they had taken
possession of their birthright, the Commons of England; they had
patiently endured all possible wrongs, injuries and insults, and had
still remained steadfast to the Law of Reason and Love, to the express
command of their acknowledged Master and King--Resist not evil. However,
though their courage and endurance remained unabated, their little stock
of provisions was becoming exhausted, and the end of their high
endeavour was in sight. However this may be, it was about this time,
during the bleak winter months, that they composed two Christmas Carols
to sing round their camp-fires, which were given to the world the
following April in a little book bearing the following title:

     "THE DIGGERS MIRTH:[129:1]


     Certain Verses composed and fitted to tunes, for the delight and
         recreation of all those that dig, or own that work, in the
         Commonwealth of England.

     Wherein is shewed how the Kingly Power doth still reign in several
         sorts of men.

             With a hint of that Freedom which shall come,
             When the Father shall reign alone in His Son.

     Set forth by those who were the original of that so righteous a
         work, and continue still successful therein at Cobham in Surrey.


     Printed in the year 1650."

It contains but two long pieces, both of which merit more than a passing
notice. The first, probably from the pen of Robert Coster, entitled "The
Diggers Christmasse Caroll," contains some twenty-eight verses of six
lines each. The view and hopes of the Diggers, as well as references to
recent public events, are amusingly related, and in conclusion the
reader is reminded that--"Freedom is not won, neither by sword nor gun,"
and therefore entreated to discard his faith in the efficacy of force,
of Money and the Sword, and to share their belief in the power of Love,
Righteousness, and Co-operative Labour, for the satisfaction of the
needs and desires of all.

The second piece, which we suspect to be from Winstanley's pen, is

     "A hint of that Freedom which shall come,
     When the Father shall reign alone in His Son,"

and the first two verses seem to us worthy of being given in full. They
run as follows:

     "The Father He is God alone,
       nothing besides Him is;
     All things are folded in that one,
       by Him all things subsist.

     He is our Light, our Life, our Peace,
       whereby we our being have;
     From Him all things have their increase,
       the Tyrant and the Slave."

It was probably also about this time that Winstanley composed the
following much more lively piece, which is to be found in the _Clarke
Papers_,[130:1] and which may here find a fitting place:


     "You noble Diggers all, stand up now, stand up now,
         You noble Diggers all, stand up now,
     The waste land to maintain, seeing Cavaliers by name
         Your digging do disdain and persons all defame.
           Stand up now, stand up now.

     Your houses they pull down, stand up now, stand up now,
         Your houses they pull down, stand up now;
     Your houses they pull down to fright poor men in town,
     But the Gentry must come down, and the poor shall wear the crown.
           Stand up now, Diggers all!

     With spades and hoes and plowes, stand up now, stand up now,
         With spades and hoes and plowes, stand up now;
     Your freedom to uphold, seeing Cavaliers are bold
     To kill you if they could, and rights from you withhold.
           Stand up now, Diggers all!

     Their self-will is their law, stand up now, stand up now,
         Their self-will is their law, stand up now;
     Since tyranny came in, they count it now no sin
     To make a goal a gin, to starve poor men therein.
           Stand up now, stand up now.

     The Gentry are all round, stand up now, stand up now,
         The Gentry are all round, stand up now;
     The Gentry are all round, on each side they are found,
     Their wisdom's so profound to cheat us of our ground.
           Stand up now, stand up now.

     The Lawyers they conjoin, stand up now, stand up now,
         The Lawyers they conjoin, stand up now;
     To arrest you they advise, such fury they devise,
     The devil in them lies, and hath blinded both their eyes.
           Stand up now, stand up now.

     The Clergy they come in, stand up now, stand up now,
         The Clergy they come in, stand up now;
     The Clergy they come in, and say it is a sin
     That we should now begin our freedom for to win.
           Stand up now, Diggers all!

     The tithes they yet will have, stand up now, stand up now,
         The tithes they yet will have, stand up now;
     The tithes they yet will have, and Lawyers their fees crave,
     And this they say is brave, to make the poor their slave.
           Stand up now, Diggers all!

     'Gainst Lawyers and 'gainst Priests, stand up now, stand up now,
         'Gainst Lawyers and 'gainst Priests, stand up now;
     For tyrants they are both, even flat against their oath,
     To grant us they are loath, free meat and drink and cloth.
           Stand up now, Diggers all!

     The club is all their law, stand up now, stand up now,
         The club is all their law, stand up now;
     The club is all their law, to keep poor men in awe;
     But they no vision saw to maintain such a law.
           Stand up now, Diggers all!

     The Cavaliers are foes, stand up now, stand up now,
         The Cavaliers are foes, stand up now;
     The Cavaliers are foes, themselves they do disclose
     By verses, not in prose, to please the singing boys.
           Stand up now, Diggers all!

     To conquer them by love, come in now, come in now,
         To conquer them by love, come in now;
     To conquer them by love, as it does you behove,
     For He is King above, no Power is like to Love.
           Glory here, Diggers all!"


[112:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 573. Also at
the Guildhall Library.

[115:1] Mr. Drake was the Lord of the Manor, and the patron of Parson
Platt. He was made an Ejector for the County of Surrey by Cromwell, and
Platt made Lay Ejector.

[122:1] See _A Declaration of the Bloody and Unchristian Acting of
William Star and John Taylor of Walton, with divers men in women's
apparell, in opposition to those that dig upon St. Georges Hill_. King's
Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 561.

[122:2] _Clarke Papers_, vol. ii. pp. 215-217. No date is attached; but
Winstanley's second letter, which immediately follows it, is dated
December 8th, 1649.

[124:1] See _Calendar of State Papers_, Domestic, 1649-1650, p. 335.

[124:2] _Clarke Papers_, vol. ii. pp. 217-220.

[126:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 585.

[129:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 1365.

[130:1] Vol. ii. p. 221.



     "Hear, O thou Righteous Spirit of the Whole Creation, and judge,
     who is the thief, he who takes away the Freedom of the Common Earth
     from me, which is my Creation Right; Or I, who take the Common
     Earth to plant upon for my free livelihood, endeavouring to live as
     a Free Commoner, in a Free Common-wealth, in Righteousness and
     Peace."--WINSTANLEY, _The Law of Freedom_.

It was probably during the anxious times that beset the little community
of Diggers during the winter of 1649-1650, that Winstanley wrote the
long and bitter pamphlet, to which is attached a detailed list of the
injuries inflicted upon them, and which early in 1650 appeared in book
form under the following title:


     Showing what the Kingly Power is; and that the Cause of those they
         call Diggers is the Life and Marrow of that Cause the
         Parliament hath declared for and the Army fought for. The
         perfecting of which work will prove England to be the First of
         Nations, or the Tenth Part of the City Babylon, that falls off
         from the Beast first, and that sets the Crown upon Christ's
         head, to govern the World in Righteousness.

     A Lover of England's Freedom and Peace.

           Die Pride and Envy; Flesh take the Poor's advice.
           Covetousness begone: Come Truth and Love arise.
           Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of doors:
           Cast out Hypocrisy, and Lust, and mere invented Laws.[133:1]
           Then England sit in rest; Thy Sorrows will have end;
           Thy Sons will live in Peace, and each will be a friend.

     Printed for Giles Calvert, 1650."

Winstanley first gives a rapid sketch of recent events, as follows:

     "Gentlemen of the Parliament and Army; You and the Common People
     have assisted each other to cast out the head of oppression, which
     was Kingly Power seated in one man's hand, and that work is now
     done, and till that work was done you called upon the people to
     assist you to deliver this distressed, bleeding, dying Nation out
     of bondage. And the people came and failed you not, counting
     neither purse nor blood too dear to part with to effect this work.

     "The Parliament after this have made an Act to cast out Kingly
     Power and to make England a free Common-wealth. These Acts the
     people are much rejoiced with, as being words forerunning their
     freedom, and they wait for their accomplishment that their joy may
     be full. For as words without actions are a cheat, and kill the
     comfort of a righteous spirit, so words performed in action do
     comfort and nourish the life thereof.

     "Now, Sirs, wheresoever we spy out Kingly Power, no man I hope
     shall be troubled to declare it, nor afraid to cast it out, having
     both Act of Parliament, the Soldier's Oath, and the Common People's
     Consent on his side. For Kingly Power is like a great spread tree;
     if you lop the head or top bough and let the other branches and
     root stand, it will grow again and recover fresher strength.

     "If any ask me, what Kingly Power is? I answer, there is a twofold
     Kingly Power. The one is the Kingly Power of Righteousness, and
     this is the power of the Almighty God, ruling the whole Creation in
     Peace, and keeping it together. And this is the Power of Universal
     Love, leading people unto all truth, teaching everyone to do as he
     would be done unto.... But the other Kingly Power is the power of
     Unrighteousness.... This Kingly Power is the Power of Self Love,
     ruling in one or in many men over others, and enslaving those who
     in the Creation are their equals; nay, who are in the strictness of
     equity rather their masters. And this Kingly Power is usually set
     in the Chair of Government, under the name of Prerogative, when he
     rules in one over another; and in the name of State Privilege of
     Parliament, when he rules in many over others.... While this Kingly
     Power ruled in a man called Charles, all sorts of people complained
     of oppression, both Gentry and Common People, because their lands,
     enclosures and copyholds were entangled, and because their Trade
     was destroyed by Monopolising Patentees, and your troubles were
     that you could not live free from oppression in the earth.
     Thereupon you that were the Gentry, when you were assembled in
     Parliament, you called upon the Common People to come and help you
     to cast out oppression: and you that complained are helped and
     freed, and that top-bough is lopped off the Tree of Tyranny, and
     Kingly Power in that one particular is cast out. But, alas!
     oppression is a great tree still, and keeps off the Sun of Freedom
     from the poor Commons still. He hath many branches and great roots
     which must be grubbed up, before everyone can sing Zion's song in

After again praising the two Acts of Parliament--"the one to cast out
Kingly Power; the other to make England a free Common-wealth"--and
detailing his grievances against the Tything Priests and Lords of
Manors, he continues:

     "Search all your Laws, and I'll adventure my life, for I have
     little else to lose, that all Lords of Manors hold Title to the
     Commons by no stronger hold than the King's Will, whose head is cut
     off; and the King held title as he was a Conqueror. Now if you cast
     off the King who was the head of that power, surely the power of
     Lords of Manors is the same. Therefore perform your own Act of
     Parliament, and cast out that part of the Kingly Power likewise,
     that the People may see that you understand what you say and do,
     and that you are faithful. For truly the Kingly Power reigns
     strongly in the Lords of Manors over the Poor. For my own
     particular, I have in other writings, as well as in this, declared
     my reasons why the Common Land is the Poor People's propriety; and
     I have digged upon the Commons; and I hope in time to obtain the
     freedom to get food and raiment therefrom by righteous labour:
     which is all I desire. And for so doing the supposed Lord of that
     Manor hath arrested me twice. First in an Action of £20 trespass
     for plowing upon the Commons, which I never did.... And now they
     have arrested me again in an Action of £4 trespass for digging upon
     the Commons, which I did, and own the work to be righteous and no
     trespass to any. This was the Attorney at Kingstone's advice,
     either to get money from both sides ... or else that I should not
     remove the action to a Higher Court, but that the cause might be
     tried there. For they know how to please Lords of Manors, that have
     resolved to spend hundreds of pounds but they will hinder the Poor
     from enjoying the Commons."

Then he gives utterance to the sense of indignation which filled his
heart in the following bitter and contemptuous words:

     "Do these men obey the Parliament's Acts, to throw down Kingly
     Power? O no! The same unrighteous doing that was complained of in
     King Charles' days, the same doing is among them still. Money will
     buy and sell Justice still. And is our eight years' war come round
     about to lay us down again in the Kennel of Injustice as much or
     more than before? Are we no farther learned yet? O ye Rulers of
     England, when must we turn over a new leaf? Will you always hold us
     in one lesson? Surely you will make Dunces of us; then all the Boys
     in other Lands will laugh at us! Come, I pray, let us take forth
     and go forward in our learning!"

Winstanley's zeal for the cause he had espoused was, however, too real
to allow him to continue long in this strain, so he immediately adopts a
more persuasive tone, as follows:

     "You blame us who are the Common People as though we would have no
     government. Truly, Gentlemen, we desire a righteous government with
     all our hearts. But the Government we have gives freedom and
     livelihood to the Gentry, to have abundance, and to lock up
     Treasures of the Earth from the Poor; so that rich men may have
     chests full of gold and silver, and houses full of corn and goods
     to look upon, while the Poor who work to get it can hardly live;
     and if they cannot work like slaves, then they must starve. Thus
     the Law gives all the Land to some part of mankind, whose
     predecessors got it by conquest, and denies it to others, who by
     the Righteous Law of Creation may claim an equal portion. And yet
     you say this is a Righteous Government, but surely it is no other
     than selfishness."

His indignation again gets the mastery of him, and he continues

     "England is a prison; the varieties of subtilties in the Laws
     preserved by the Sword are the bolts, bars and doors of the prison;
     the Lawyers are the Jailers; and Poor Men are the prisoners. For
     let a man fall into the hands of any, from the Bailiff to the
     Judge, and he is either undone or weary of his life. Surely this
     power, the Law, which is the great Idol that people dote upon, is
     the burden of the Creation, a nursery of idleness, luxury and
     cheating, the only enemy of Christ, the King of Righteousness! For
     though it pretends Justice, yet the Judges and Law Officers buy and
     sell Justice for money, and say it is my calling, and never are
     troubled at it."

He then makes the following manly appeal to his persecutors:

     "You Gentlemen of Surrey, and Lords of Manors, and you Mr. Parson
     Platt especially ... my advice to you is this, hereafter to lie
     still and cherish the Diggers, for they love you and would not have
     your finger ache if they could help it, then why should you be so
     bitter against them? O let them live beside you. Some of them have
     been Soldiers, and some Countrymen that were always friends to the
     Parliament's cause, by whose hardships and means you enjoy the
     creatures about you in peace. And will you now destroy part of them
     that have preserved your lives? O do not do so; be not so besotted
     with the Kingly Power.... Bid them go and plant the Commons. This
     will be your honor and your comfort; for assure yourselves that you
     can never have true comfort till you be friends with the Poor.
     Therefore, come, come, love the Diggers, make restitution of their
     land you hold from them; for what would you do if you had not such
     laboring men to work for you?"

A pertinent question, truly, and one which those whom he addressed, as
well as those who are to-day in their places, would find it somewhat
inconvenient to answer.

He then appeals to the Officers of the Army in the following bold and
manly words:

     "And you, great Officers of the Army and Parliament, love your
     common Soldiers (I plead for Equity and Reason) and do not force
     them, by long delay of payment, to sell you their dearly bought
     Debentures for a thing of nought, and then to go and buy our Common
     Land, and Crown Land, and other Land that is the spoil, one of
     another therewith. Remember you are Servants to the Commons of
     England, and you were volunteers in the Wars, and the Common People
     have paid you for your pains largely.... As soon as you have freed
     the Earth from one entanglement of Kingly Power, will you entangle
     it more? I pray you consider what you do, and do righteously. We
     that are the Poor Commons, that paid our money and gave you
     free-quarter, have as much right in those Crown Lands and Lands of
     the spoil as you. Therefore we give no consent that you should buy
     and sell our Crown Lands and Waste Lands; for it is our purchased
     inheritance from under oppression! it is our own, even the poor
     Common People's of England.... We paid you your wages to help us
     recover it, but not to take it yourselves and turn us out, and to
     buy and sell it among yourselves.... If you do so, you uphold the
     Kingly Power, and so disobey both Acts of Parliament, and break
     your Oath; and you will live in the breach of these two
     commandments, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, by denying
     us the Earth which is our livelihood, and thereby killing us by a
     lingering death."

Winstanley then summarises his contentions, as follows:

     "Well, the end of all my speech is to point out the Kingly Power
     where I spy it out. And you see it remains strongly in the hands of
     Lords of Manors, who have dealt so discourteously with some who are
     sincere in heart, though there have some come among the Diggers
     that have caused scandal, but we disown their ways.[137:1]

     "The Lords of Manors have sent to beat us, to pull down our houses,
     spoil our labours; yet we are patient, and never offered any
     violence to them again these forty weeks past, but wait upon God
     with love till their hearts thereby be softened. All that we
     desire is but to live quietly in the Land of our Nativity by our
     righteous labour upon the Common Land, which is our own; but as yet
     the Lords of the Manors, so formerly called, will not suffer us,
     but abuse us. Is not that part of the Kingly Power? In that which
     follows I shall clearly prove it is; for it appears so clear that
     the understanding of a child does say, 'It is tyranny; it is the
     Kingly Power of Darkness.' Therefore we expect that you will grant
     us the benefit of your Act of Parliament, so that we may say--Truly
     England is a Common-wealth, and a Free People indeed."

Winstanley then declares that despite all their trouble and anxiety the
Diggers were still "mightily cheerful," and resolved "to wait upon God
to see what He will do ... taking it a great happiness to be persecuted
for righteousness' sake by the Priests and Professors that are the
successors of Judas and the bitter spirited Pharisees that put the man
Christ to death." He then again advances the reasons on which he bases
the equal claims of all to the use of the earth, denounces the sources
whence the exclusive claims of the few have sprung, more especially the
tyrannical claims of Lords of Manors, boldly claiming that from this
tyranny of man to man England should have been freed by the recent
casting out of kingly power--and continues:

     "Therefore I say, the Common Land is my own Land, equal with my
     Fellow Commoners; and our true propriety by the Law of Creation.
     _It is every ones, but not one single ones._ Yea, the Commons are
     as truly ours by the last excellent two Acts of Parliament, the
     foundation of England's new Righteous Government aimed at, as the
     Elder Brothers can say the Enclosures are theirs. For they ventured
     their lives and covenanted with us to help them preserve their
     Freedom; and we adventured our lives and they covenanted with us to
     purchase and to give us our Freedom, that hath been hundreds of
     years kept from us."

The first part of this pamphlet concludes as follows:

       "_Damona non Armis sed Morte subegit Jesus._

       "By patient sufferings, not by Death,
         Christ did the devil kill:
       And by the same still to this day,
         His foes he conquers still.

     "True Religion and undefiled is this: To make Restitution of the
     Earth, which hath been taken and held from the Common People by the
     power of Conquests formerly, and to set the oppressed free. Do not
     all strive to enjoy the land? The Gentry strive for land; the
     Clergy strive for land; the Common People strive for land; and
     Buying and Selling is an Art whereby People endeavour to cheat one
     another of the land. Now, if any can prove from the Law of
     Righteousness that the land was made peculiar to him and his
     successively, shutting others out, he shall enjoy it freely for my
     part. But I affirm, it was made for all; and true Religion is to
     let everyone enjoy it. Therefore you Rulers of England, make
     restitution of the Land which the Kingly Power holds from us. Set
     the Oppressed free; and come in and honor Christ, who is the
     Restoring Power, and you shall find rest."

In the opening of the second part of this pamphlet Winstanley reverts
somewhat to his earlier mystical style, and still further expounds the
eternal struggle between the Spirit of Self Love and the Spirit of
Universal Love, denouncing the former as the source of all social ills,
extolling the latter as the source and inspirer of peaceful and
equitable social life. "In our present experience," he contends,
"Darkness or Self Love goes before, and Light or Universal Love follows
after"; and hence "Darkness and Bondage doth oppress Liberty and Light."
He illustrates this contention, as well as the essential difference of
the spirits animating the Diggers and their opponents, by relating how
one of the Colonels of the Army told him--"That the Diggers did work
upon Georges Hill for no other end than to draw a company of people into
arms; and that our knavery was found out, because it takes not that
effect": on which Winstanley comments as follows:

     "Truly thou Colonel, I tell thee, thy knavish imagination is
     thereby discovered, which hinders the effecting of that Freedom
     which by Oath and Covenant thou hast engaged to maintain. For my
     part and the rest, we had no such thought. We abhor fighting for
     Freedom; it is acting of the Curse, and lifting him up higher. Do
     thou uphold it by the Sword; we will not. We will conquer by Love
     and Patience, or else we count it no Freedom. Freedom gotten by the
     Sword is an established Bondage to some part or other of the
     Creation. This we have declared publicly enough. Therefore thy
     imagination told thee a lie, and will deceive thee in a greater
     matter, if Love doth not kill him. VICTORY THAT IS GOTTEN BY THE

Surely, surely, if all other writings of Winstanley had perished, this
one passage would have given us sufficient insight into his philosophy,
into the noble principles animating his life, to entitle him to our
admiration and respect.

He then continues:

     "This is your very inward principle, O ye present Powers of
     England, you do not study how to advance Universal Love. If you did
     it would appear in action. But Imagination and Self Love mightily
     disquiet your mind, and makes you to call up all the Powers of
     Darkness to come forth and help you to set the Crown upon the head
     of Self, which is that Kingly Power you have oathed and vowed
     against, but yet uphold it in your hands.... All this falling out
     and quarrelling among mankind is about the Earth, and who shall,
     and who shall not enjoy it, when indeed it is the portion of
     everyone, and ought not to be striven for, nor bought, nor sold,
     whereby some are hedged in and others are hedged out. Far better
     not to have had a body than to be debarred the fruit of the Earth
     to feed and clothe it. And if every one did but quietly enjoy the
     Earth for food and raiment, there would be no wars, prisons, nor
     gallows, and this action which men call theft would be no sin. For
     Universal Love never made it a sin, but the Power of Covetousness
     made it a sin, and made Laws to punish it, though he himself lives
     in that sin in a higher manner than those he hangs and punishes....
     Well, He that made the Earth for us as well as for you will set us
     free, though you will not. When will the Veil of Darkness be drawn
     off your faces? Will you not be wise, O ye Rulers?"

After further expatiating on the blessings inherent in Righteousness and
Universal Love, and on the inevitable evil consequences of Self Love or
Covetousness, he indicates the practical steps by which these evils
might be removed, as follows:

     "If ever the Creation is to be restored, this is the way, which
     lies in this two-fold power:

     "First, Community of Mankind, which is comprised in the Unity of
     the Spirit of Love, which is called Christ within you, or the Law
     written in the Heart, leading Mankind unto all Truth, and to be of
     one heart and one mind.

     "The Second is Community of the Earth, for the quiet livelihood in
     food and raiment, without using force or restraining one another.

     "These Two Communities, or rather one in two branches, is that true
     Levelling which Christ shall work at His more glorious appearance.

     "Therefore you Rulers of England, be not afraid nor ashamed of
     Levellers, hate them not; Christ comes to you riding upon these
     clouds. Look not upon other Lands to be your pattern. All Lands in
     the World lie under Darkness, so doth England yet, though the
     nearest to Light and Freedom than any other. Therefore let no other
     Land take your Crown....

     "At this very day poor people are forced to work, in some places
     for 4, 5, and 6 pence a day, in other places for 8, 10, and 12
     pence a day, for such small prices that now, corn being dear, their
     earnings cannot find them bread for their families. Yet if they
     steal for maintenance, the murdering Law will hang them.... Well
     this shows that if this be Law, it is not the Law of Righteousness.
     It is a murderer; it is the Law of Covetousness and Self Love. And
     this Law that frights people and forces people to obey it by
     prisons, whips and gallows, is the very Kingdom of the Devil and
     Darkness, which the Creation groans under at this day."

After this characteristic outburst, he gives them the following equally
characteristic advice:

     "Come, make peace with the Cavaliers, your enemies, and let the
     oppressed go free, and let them have a livelihood. Love your
     enemies, and do to them as you would have had them do to you, if
     they had conquered you. Well, let them go in peace, and let Love
     wear the Crown. For I tell you and your Preachers, that Scripture
     which saith 'The Poor shall inherit the Earth,' is really and
     materially to be fulfilled. For the Earth is to be restored from
     the bondage of Sword-propriety, and is to become a Common Treasury
     in reality to the whole of mankind. For this is the work for the
     true Saviour to do, who is the true and faithful Leveller, even the
     Spirit and Power of Universal Love, that is now rising to spread
     itself in the whole Creation, who is the Blessing, who will spread
     as far as the Curse has spread, to take it off and cast it out, and
     who will set the Creation in peace."

The pamphlet then concludes with the following words:

     "The time is very near when the people generally shall loathe and
     be ashamed of your Kingly Power, in your preaching, in your Laws,
     in your Councils, as now you are ashamed of the Levellers. I tell
     you Jesus Christ, who is that powerful Spirit of Love, is the Head
     Leveller: and as He is lifted up, He will draw all men after Him,
     and leave you naked and bare.... This Great Leveller, Christ our
     King of Righteousness in us, shall cause men to beat their swords
     into plough-shares, their spears into pruning-hooks, and Nations
     shall learn war no more. Everyone shall delight to let each other
     enjoy the pleasures of the Earth, and shall hold each other no more
     in bondage. Then what will become of your power? Truly he must be
     cast out as a murderer. I pity you for the torment your spirit must
     go through, if you be not fore-armed as you are abundantly
     fore-warned from all places. But I look on you as part of the
     Creation that must be restored; and the Spirit may give you wisdom
     to fore-see a danger, as he hath admonished divers of your rank
     already to leave those high places and to lie quiet and wait for
     the breaking forth of the powerful day of the Lord. Farewell, once
     more, Let Israel go free."

As a sort of appendix to this pamphlet there appears the following
interesting document:

         DIGGERS HAVE MET WITH SINCE APRIL 1ST, 1649, which was the
         first day they began to dig and to take possession of the
         Commons for the Poor on George Hill in Surrey.

     "1. The first time divers of the Diggers were carried prisoners
     into Walton Church, where some of them were struck in the Church
     by the bitter Professors and rude multitude; but after some time
     they were freed by a Justice.

     "2. They were fetched by above a hundred rude people, whereof John
     Taylor was the leader, who took away their spades, and some of them
     they never had again: and carried them first to prison in Walton,
     and then to a Justice in Kingston, who presently dismissed them.

     "3. The enemy pulled down a house which the Diggers had built upon
     George Hill, and cut their spades and hoes to pieces.

     "4. Two Troops of Horse were sent from the General to fetch us
     before the Council of War, to give account of our Digging.

     "5. We had another House pulled down, and our Spades cut to pieces.

     "6. One of the Diggers had his head sore wounded, and a Boy beaten,
     and his clothes taken from him: divers being by.

     "7. We had a Cart and Wheels cut in pieces, and a Mare cut over the
     back with a Bill when we went to fetch a load of wood from Stoak
     Common, to build a house upon George Hill.

     "8. Divers of the Diggers were beaten upon the Hill, by William
     Star and John Taylor, and by men in women's apparel, and so sore
     wounded that some of them were fetched home in a Cart.

     "9. We had another House pulled down, and the Wood they carried to
     Walton in a Cart.

     "10. They arrested some of us, and some they cast into Prison, and
     from others they went about to take away their Goods, but that the
     Goods proved another man's, which one of the Diggers was servant

     "11. And indeed at divers times besides, we had all our corn
     spoiled. For the enemy were so mad that they tumbled the earth up
     and down, and would suffer no Corn to grow.

     "12. Another Cart and Wheels were cut to pieces, and some of our
     Tools taken by force from us, which we never had again.

     "13. Some of the Diggers were beaten by the Gentlemen, the Sheriff
     looking on, and afterwards five of them were carried to White Lion
     Prison, and kept there about five weeks, and then let out.

     "14. The Sheriff, with the Lords of Manors and Soldiers standing
     by, caused two or three poor men to pull down another House: and
     divers things were stolen from them.

     "15. The next day two Soldiers and two or three Countrymen, sent
     by Parson Platt, pulled down another House, and turned a poor old
     man and his wife out of doors to lie in the fields in a cold

     "And this is the last hitherto. And so you Priests, as you were the
     last that had a hand in our persecution, so it may be that our
     misery may rest in your hand. For assure yourselves God in Christ
     will not be mocked by such Hypocrites that pretend to be His
     nearest and dearest Servants, as you do, and yet will not suffer
     His hungry and naked and houseless members to live quiet by you in
     the Earth, by whose Blood and Monies in the Wars you are in peace.

     "And now those Diggers that remain have made little Hutches to lie
     in, like Calf-cribs, and are cheerful, taking the spoiling of their
     Goods patiently, and rejoicing that they are counted worthy to
     suffer persecution for Righteousness' sake. And they follow their
     work close, and have planted divers acres of Wheat and Rye, which
     is come up and promises a very plentiful crop, and have resolved to
     preserve it by all the diligence they can. And nothing shall make
     them slack but want of food, which is not much now, they being all
     poor people, and having suffered so much in one expense or other
     since they began. For Poverty is their greatest burthen; and if
     anything do break them from the Work, it will be that."

After this confession of their weakness, and of the probable end of
their work, Winstanley again bursts out into verse as follows:

     "You Lordly Foes, you will rejoice
       this news to hear and see.
     Do so, go on; but we'll rejoice
       much more the Truth to see.
     For by our hands Truth is declared,
       and nothing is kept back;
     Our faithfulness much joy doth bring,
       though victuals we may lack,
     This trial may our God see good,
       to try, not us, but you;
     That your profession of the Truth
       may prove either false or true."

And after another and much worse specimen of his poetry, which we will
spare our readers, he concludes as follows:

     "And here I end, having put my Arm as far as my strength will go
     to advance Righteousness. I have writ; I have acted; I have Peace.
     And now I must wait to see the Spirit do His own work in the hearts
     of others; and whether England shall be the first Land, or some
     other, wherein Truth shall sit down in triumph.

     "But, O England, England, would God thou didst know the things that
     belong to thy peace before they be hid from thine eyes. The Spirit
     of Righteousness hath striven with thee, and doth yet strive with
     thee, and yet there is hope. Come in thou England, submit to
     righteousness before the voice go out, my Spirit shall strive no
     longer with flesh, and let not Covetousness make thee oppress the

     "Gentlemen of the Army, we have spoken to you; we have appealed to
     the Parliament; we have declared our Cause with all humility to you
     all; and we are Englishmen, your friends that stuck to you in your
     miseries, when those Lords of Manors that oppose us were wavering
     on both sides. Yet you have heard them, and answered their request
     to beat us off; and yet you would not afford us an answer.

     "Yet Love and Patience shall lie down and suffer; let Pride and
     Covetousness stretch themselves upon their beds of ease, and forget
     the afflictions of Joseph, and persecute us for Righteousness'
     sake, yet we will wait to see the issue. The Power of Righteousness
     is our God; the Globe runs round; the longest sunshine day ends in
     a dark night. Therefore to Thee, O Thou King of Righteousness, we
     do commit our cause. Judge Thou between us and them that strive
     against us, and those that deal treacherously with Thee and us; and
     do Thine own work, and help weak flesh in whom the Spirit is

"To thee, O thou King of Righteousness, we do commit our cause. Judge
Thou, and help weak flesh in whom the Spirit is willing." At this very
hour the same prayer, the same cry for Justice, is still ascending to
the throne of the King of Righteousness from the disinherited masses, on
whose shoulders the weight of our civilisation rests, and whom it
presses down to helpless poverty, misery, and wretchedness, and who are
still suffering from the same fundamental injustice against which, as we
have seen, Gerrard Winstanley protested so eloquently over two hundred
and fifty years ago.


[132:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 587.

[133:1] In deference to prevailing conventionalities, we have ventured
to alter this line.

[137:1] In the next chapter we shall learn something of those "Diggers
that have caused scandal," and whose actions and views Winstanley found
it necessary to disown.



     "There is but one way to remove an evil--and that is to remove its
     cause. Poverty deepens as wealth increases, and wages are forced
     down while productive power grows, because land, which is the
     source of all wealth and the field of all labour, is monopolised.
     To extirpate poverty, to make wages what justice demands they
     should be, the full earnings of the labourer, we must therefore
     substitute for the individual ownership of land a common ownership.
     Nothing else will go to the cause of the evil--in nothing else is
     there the slightest hope."--HENRY GEORGE, 1877-1878.

In the pamphlet we have considered in the previous chapter we heard that
"there have some come among the Diggers that have caused scandal," and
whose ways were disowned by Winstanley and his associates. A few weeks
subsequent to its publication, Winstanley judged it necessary publicly
and formally to dissociate himself and his companions from them, which
he did, in a manner quite in accordance with his own principles, in a
small pamphlet of some eight pages, which was published under the title:

         A COMMON TREASURY, CALLED DIGGERS: Or Some Reasons given by
         them against the immoderate use of creatures, or the excessive
         community of women, called Ranting or rather Renting,"[146:1]

which, after a long condemnation of "the Ranting Practice," runs as

     "There are only two things I must speak as an advice in Love.

     "First, Let everyone that intends to live in peace set themselves
     with diligent labour to till, dig and plow the common and barren
     land, to get them bread with righteous, moderate working, among a
     moderate-minded people; this prevents the evil of idleness, and the
     danger of the Ranting power.

     "Secondly, Let none go about to suppress that Ranting power by the
     punishing hand; for it is the work of the Righteous and Rational
     Spirit within, not thy hand without, that must suppress it. But if
     thou wilt need be punishing, then see thou be without sin thyself,
     and then cast the first stone at the Ranter. Let not sinners punish
     others for sin, but let the power of thy reason and righteous
     action shame and so beat down their unrational actings. Wouldst
     thou live in peace, then look to thy own ways, mind thy own Kingdom
     within.... Let everyone alone to stand or fall their own Master;
     for thou being a sinner and striving to suppress sinners by force,
     thou wilt thereby but increase their rage and thine own trouble.
     But do thou keep close to the Law of Righteous Reason, and thou
     shalt presently see a return of the Ranters: for that Spirit within
     must shame them and turn them and pull them out of darkness."

After emphasising the fact that such evil actions must necessarily bring
evil on those who indulge in them, the pamphlet concludes with the
following words:

     "This I was made to write as a Vindication of the Diggers, who are
     slandered with the Ranting action. My end is only to advance the
     Kingdom of Peace in and among mankind, which is and will be torn in
     pieces by the Ranting power, if Reason do not kill this
     fine-hearted or sensitive Beast. All you that are merely civil and
     that are of a loving and flexible disposition, wanting the strength
     of Reason, and the Life of Universal Love, leading you forth to
     seek the peace and preservation of every single body as of one's
     self, you are the people that are likely to be tempted, and set
     upon and torn into pieces by this devouring Beast, the Ranting
                                             "GERRARD WINSTANLEY.
    "_Feb. this 20, 1649 (1650)._"

On March 4th he adds the following interesting postscript:

     "I am told there are some people going up and down the country
     among such as are friends to the Diggers, gathering monies in
     their name. And they have a note wherein my name and divers others
     are subscribed. This is to certify that I never subscribed my name
     to any such note. Neither have we that are called Diggers received
     any money by any such collections. Therefore to prevent this cheat,
     we desire, if any are willing to cast a gift in to further our work
     of digging upon the Commons, that they would send it to our own
     hands by some trusty friends of their own."

If others could get monies in their name, the Diggers evidently thought
that they might themselves take advantage of the same means to maintain
the public work on which they were engaged. For we gather the following
from a contemporary news-sheet,[148:1] _A Perfect Diurnal_, April 1-8:

     "_April 4 (Thursday)._--THE TRUE COPY OF A LETTER taken at
         Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, with some men that were there
         apprehended for going about to incite people to Digging, and
         under such pretence gathered money of the well-affected for
         their assistance.

     "These are to certify all that are Friends to Universal Freedom,
     and that look upon the Digging and Planting of the Commons to be
     the first springing up of Freedom: To make the Earth a Common
     Treasury that everyone may enjoy food and raiment freely by his
     labour upon the Earth, without paying Rents or Homage to any
     Fellow-creature of his own kind; that everyone may be delivered
     from the Tyranny of the Conquering Power, and to rise up out of
     that Bondage to enjoy the benefit of his Creation: This, I say, is
     to certify all such that those Men that have begun to lay the First
     Stone in the Foundation of this Freedom (by digging upon Georges
     Hill on the Common called Little Heath in Cobham) in regard of the
     great opposition hitherto from the Enemy, by reason whereof they
     lost the last Summer's work, yet, through inward faithfulness to
     advance Freedom, they keep the field still, ... but in regard to
     poverty their work is like to flag and drop: Therefore if the
     hearts of any be stirred up to drop anything into this Treasury, to
     buy victuals to keep the men alive, and to buy Corn to cast into
     the ground, it will keep alive the Spirit of Public Freedom to the
     whole Land, which otherwise is ready to die again for want of help.
     And if you hear hereafter that there was a people appeared to stand
     up to advance Public Freedom, and struggled with the Opposing Power
     of the Land, for that they begin to let them alone, and yet these
     men and their public work were crushed, because they wanted
     assistance of food and corn to keep them alive: I say, if you hear
     this, it will be trouble to you when it is too late, that you had
     monies in your hand, and would not part with any of it to purchase
     Freedom, therefore you deservedly groan under Tyranny, and no
     Saviour appears. But let your Reason weigh the excellency of this
     work, and I am sure you will cast in something.

     "And because there were some treacherous persons drew up a note and
     subscribed our names to it, and by that moved some friends to give
     money to this work of ours, when as we know of no such note, nor
     subscribed our names to any, nor ever received any money from such
     collection. Therefore to prevent such a cheat, I have mentioned a
     word or two in the end of a printed book against that treachery,
     that neither we nor our friends may be cheated. And I desire if any
     be willing to communicate of their substance unto our work, that
     they would make a collection among themselves, and send that money
     to Cobham to the Diggers' own hands, by some trusty friend of your
     own, and so neither you nor we shall be cheated.

     "The Bearers hereof, Thomas Haydon and Adam Knight, can relate by
     word of mouth more largely the condition of the Diggers and their
     work, and so we leave this to you to do as you are moved.

     "Jacob Heard, Jo. South junior, Henry Barton, Tho. Barnard, Tho.
     Adams, Will Hitchcocke, Anthony Wren, Robert Draper, William Smith,
     Robert Coster, Gerrard Winstanley, Jo. South, Tho. Heydon, Jo.
     Palmer, Tho. South, Henry Handcocke, Jo. Batt, Dan Ireland, Jo.
     Hayman, Robert Sawyer, Tho. Starre, Tho. Edcer, besides their wives
     and families, and many more if there were food for them."

Then follows this detailed account of their travels:

     "A COPY OF THEIR TRAVELS, that was taken with the four men at

     "Out of Buckinghamshire into Surrey; from Surrey to Middlesex, from
     thence to Hartfordshire, to Bedfordshire, again to Buckinghamshire,
     so to Berkshire, and then to Surrey, thence to Middlesex, and so to
     Hartfordshire, and to Bedfordshire, thence into Huntingdonshire,
     from thence to Bedfordshire, and so into Northamptonshire, and
     there they were apprehended.

     "They visited these towns to promote the business: Colebrook,
     Hanworth, Hounslow, Harrowhill, Watford, Redburn, Dunstable,
     Barton, Amersley, Bedford, Kempson, North Crawley, Cranfield,
     Newport, Stony Stratford, Winslow, Wendover, Wickham, Windsor,
     Cobham, London, Whetston, Mine, Wellin, Dunton, Putney, Royston,
     St. Needs, Godmanchester, Wetne, Stanton, Warbays, Kimolton, from
     Kimolton to Wellingborrow."

Before this date, however, some of the inhabitants of Wellingborrow had
followed the example of their brothers in Surrey. From a beautifully
printed broadsheet,[150:1] bearing date March 12th, 1649 (1650), and
issued by Giles Calvert, we find the following account of their doings,
which incidentally reveals the terrible state of the rural working
population at the time it was written:

         inhabitants of the Town of Wellinborrow, in the County of
         Northampton, have begun and give consent to dig up, manure and
         sow corn upon the Commons and Waste Ground called Bareshanke,
         belonging to the inhabitants of Wellinborrow, by those that
         have subscribed and hundreds more that give consent.

     "1. We find in the word of God that God made the Earth for the use
     and comfort of all mankind, and sat him in it to till and dress it,
     and said, That in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread.
     And also we find that God never gave it to any sort of people that
     they should have it all to themselves, and shut out all the rest,
     but He saith, The Earth hath He given to the children of men, which
     is every man.

     "2. We find that no creature that ever God made was ever deprived
     of the benefit of the Earth, but Mankind; and that it is nothing
     but covetousness, pride and hardness of heart that hath caused man
     so far to degenerate.

     "3. We find in the Scriptures, that the Prophets and Apostles have
     left it upon record, That in the last day the oppressor and proud
     man shall cease, and God will restore the waste places of the Earth
     to the use and comfort of man, and that none shall hurt nor destroy
     in all His Holy Mountain.

     "4. We have great encouragement from these two righteous Acts,
     which the Parliament of England have set forth, the one against
     Kingly Power and the other to make England a Free Common-wealth.

     "5. We are necessitated from our present necessity to do this, and
     we hope that our actions will justify us in the gate, when all men
     shall know the truth of our necessity:

     "We are in Wellinborrow in one parish 1169 persons that receive
     alms, as the Officers have made it appear at the Quarter Sessions
     last. We have made our case known to the Justices; the Justices
     have given order that the Town should raise a stock to set us on
     work, and that the Hundred should be enjoyned to assist them. But
     as yet we see nothing is done, nor any man that goeth about it. We
     have spent all we have; our trading is decayed; our wives and
     children cry for bread; our lives are a burden to us, divers of us
     having 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 in family, and we cannot get bread for one of
     them by our labor. Rich men's hearts are hardened; they will not
     give us if we beg at their doors. If we steal, the Law will end our
     lives. Divers of the poor are starved to death already; and it were
     better for us that are living to die by the Sword than by the
     Famine. And now we consider that the Earth is our Mother; and that
     God hath given it to the children of men; and that the Common and
     Waste Grounds belong to the poor; and that we have a right to the
     common ground both from the Law of the Land, Reason and Scriptures.
     Therefore we have begun to bestow our righteous labor upon it, and
     we shall trust the Spirit for a blessing upon our labor, resolving
     not to dig up any man's propriety until they freely give us it. And
     truly we have great comfort already through the goodness of our
     God, that some of those rich men amongst us that have had the
     greatest profit upon the Common have freely given us their share
     in it ... and the country farmers have profered, divers of them, to
     give us seed to sow it; and so we find that God is persuading
     Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem. And truly those that we find
     most against us are such as have been constant enemies to the
     Parliament Cause from first to last.

     "Now at last our desire is, That some that approve of this work of
     Righteousness would but spread this our Declaration before the
     great Council of the Land; that so they may be pleased to give us
     more encouragement to go on; that so they may be found amongst the
     small number of those that consider the poor and needy; that so the
     Lord may deliver them in the time of their troubles ... and our
     lives shall bless them, so shall good men stand by them, and evil
     men shall be afraid of them, and they shall be counted the
     Repairers of our Breaches, and the Restorers of our Paths to dwell
     in. And thus we have declared the truth of our necessity, and
     whosoever will come in to labor with us, shall have part with us,
     and we with them, and we shall all of us endeavour to walk
     righteously and peaceably in the Land of our Nativity.

                       "Richard Smith, John Avery, Thomas Fardin,
                       Richard Pendred, James Pitman, Roger Tuis,
                       Joseph Hitchcock, John Pye, Edward Turner.

     _March 12th, 1649 (1650)._"

By some means or other this Declaration seems to have reached the
Council of State; for we find the following reference to it in
Whitelocke, p. 448, under date April:

     "A Letter sent from the Diggers and Planters of Commons for
     Universal Freedom, to make the Earth a Common Treasury, that
     everyone may enjoy food and raiment freely by his labor upon the
     Earth, without paying Rents or Homage to any Fellow Creature of his
     own kind, that everyone may be delivered from the Tyranny of the
     Conquering Power, and so rise up out of that Bondage to enjoy the
     Benefit of his Creation.

     "The Letters were to get money to buy food for them, and corn to
     sow the land which they had digged."

Presently we shall lay some evidence before our readers of the view the
Council of State, influenced as it was by men who had recently enriched
themselves by land-grabbing, took of such proceedings, the trend of
which they fully recognised. However, whatever view the Council of State
were likely to take of this touching Declaration, there can be little
doubt but that it appealed most strongly to Winstanley, who within a
fortnight of its issue, on March 26th, replied to it in the following
high-spirited, almost triumphal, address, which also appeared in the
form of a broadsheet:[153:1]

         Sent from those that began to dig upon George Hill in Surrey,
         but now are carrying on that public work upon the little heath
         in the Parish of Cobham, near unto George Hill, wherein it
         appears that the work of Digging upon the Commons is not only
         warranted by Scripture, but by the Law of the Common-wealth of
         England likewise.

     "Behold, behold all Englishmen, The Land of England now is your
     free inheritance: all Kingly and Lordly entanglements are declared
     against by our Army and Parliament. The Norman Power is beaten in
     the field, and his head is cut off. And that oppressing Conquest,
     that hath reigned over you by King and House of Lords, for about
     600 years past, is now cast out by the Armies' Swords, the
     Parliament's Acts and Laws, and the Common-wealth's Engagement.

     "Therefore let not sottish covetousness in the Gentry deny the poor
     or younger bretheren their just Freedom to build and plant corn
     upon the common waste land; nor let slavish fear possess the heart
     of the poor to stand in fear of the Norman yoke any longer, seeing
     that it is broke. Come, those that are free within, turn your
     Swords into Ploughshares, and Spears into Pruning Hooks, and take
     Plow and Spade, and break up the Common Land, build your houses,
     sow corn and take possession of your own Land, which you have
     recovered out of the hands of the Norman oppressor.

     "The common Land hath laid unmanured all the days of his Kingly and
     Lordly power over you, by reason whereof both you and your fathers
     (many of you) have been burthened with poverty. And that land which
     would have been fruitful with corn, hath brought forth nothing but
     heath, moss, turfeys, and the curse, according to the words of the
     Scriptures: A fruitful land is made barren because of the
     unrighteousness of the people that ruled therein, and would not
     suffer it to be planted, because they would keep the poor under
     bondage, to maintain their own Lordly Power and conquering

     "But what hinders you now? Will you be Slaves and Beggars still
     when you may be Freemen? Will you live in straits and die in
     poverty when you may live comfortably? Will you always make a
     profession of the words of Christ and Scripture, the sum whereof is
     this--Do as you would be done unto, and live in love? And now it is
     come to the point of fulfilling that Righteous Law, will you not
     rise up and act? I do not mean act by the Sword, for that must be
     left. But come, take plow and spade, build and plant, and make the
     waste land fruitful, that there may be no beggar or idle person
     among you. For if the waste land of England were manured by her
     children, it would become in a few years the richest, the
     strongest, and the most flourishing Land in the world, and all
     Englishmen would live in peace and comfort. And this Freedom is
     hindered by such as yet are full of the Norman base blood, who
     would be Free-men themselves, but would have all others bond-men
     and servants, nay Slaves to them....

     "Well Englishmen, the Law of the Scriptures gives you a free and
     full warrant to plant the Earth, and to live comfortably and in
     love, doing as you would be done by, and condemns that covetous
     kingly and lordly power of darkness in men, that makes some men
     seek their freedom in the Earth and deny others that freedom. And
     the Scriptures do establish this Law, to cast out kingly and lordly
     self-willed and oppressing power, and to make every Nation in the
     World a Free Common-wealth. So that you have the Scriptures to
     protect you in making the Earth a Common Treasury for the
     comfortable livelihood of your bodies, while you live upon Earth.

     "Secondly, you have both what the Army and the Parliament have done
     to protect you.... Our Common-wealth's Army have fought against the
     Norman Conquest, and have cast him out, and keeps the field.... And
     by this victory England is made a Free Common-wealth; and the
     common land belongs to the younger brother, as the enclosures to
     the elder brother, without restraint.... The Parliament since this
     victory have made an Act or Law to make England a Free
     Common-wealth. And by this Act they have set the people free from
     King and House of Lords that ruled as conquerors over them, and
     have abolished their self-will and murdering Laws with them that
     made them. Likewise they have made another Act or Law, to cast out
     Kingly Power, wherein they free the people from yielding obedience
     to the King, or to any that holds claiming under the King. Now all
     Lords of Manors, Tything Priests and Impropriators hold claiming or
     title under the King, but by this Act of Parliament we are freed
     from their power.

     "Then, lastly, the Parliament have made an engagement to maintain
     this present Common-wealth's government comprised within those Acts
     or Laws against King and House of Lords. And called upon all
     officers, tenants, and all sort of people to subscribe to it,
     declaring that those that refuse to subscribe shall have no
     privilege in the Common-wealth of England, nor protection from the

     "Now behold all Englishmen, that by virtue of these two Laws and
     the Engagement, the Tenants of Copyhold are free from obedience to
     their Lords of Manors, and all poor people may build upon and plant
     the Commons, and Lords of Manors break the Laws of the Land, and
     still uphold the Kingly and Lordly Norman Power, if they hinder
     them, or seek to beat them off from planting the Commons. Nor can
     the Lords of Manors compel their Tenants of Copyholds to come to
     their Court Barons, nor to be of their Juries, nor to take an oath
     to be true to them, nor to pay fines, heriots, quit-rents, nor any
     homage as formerly while the Kings and Lords were in their power.
     And if the Tenants stand up to maintain their freedom against their
     Lords' oppressing power, the Tenants forfeit nothing, but are
     protected by the Laws and Engagement of the Land.

     "And if so be that any poor men build them houses and sow corn upon
     the Commons, the Lords of Manors cannot compel their Tenants to
     beat them off: and if the Tenants refuse to beat them off, they
     forfeit nothing, but are protected by the Laws and Engagement of
     the Land. But if so be that any fearful or covetous Tenant do obey
     their Court Barons, and will be of their Jury, and will still pay
     fines, heriots, quit-rents, or any homage as formerly, or take new
     oaths to be true to their Lords, or at the command of their Lords
     do beat the poor men off from planting the Commons, then they have
     broke the Engagement and Law of the Land, and both Lords and
     Tenants are conspiring to uphold or bring in the Kingly or Lordly
     Power again, and declare themselves to the Army, and to the
     Parliament, and are Traitors to the Commonwealth of England. And if
     so be that they are to have no protection of the Law that refused
     to take the Engagement, surely they have lost their protection by
     breaking their Engagement, and stand liable to answer for this
     their offence to their great charge and trouble if any will
     prosecute against them.

     "Therefore you Englishmen, whether Tenants or Labouring-men, do not
     enter into a new bond of slavery, now you are come to the point
     that you may be free, if you will but stand up for freedom. For the
     Army hath purchased your freedom. The Parliament hath declared for
     your freedom. And all the Laws of the Commonwealth are your
     protection. So that nothing is wanting on your part but courage and
     faithfulness to put those Laws in execution, and so take possession
     of your own Land, which the Norman power took from you and hath
     kept from you about 600 years, and which you have now recovered out
     of his hand.

     "And if any say that the old Laws and Customs of the Land are
     against the Tenant and the poor, and entitle the land only to Lords
     of Manors still, I answer, all the old Laws are of no force, for
     they were abolished when the King and House of Lords were cast out.
     And if any say, I, but the Parliament made an Act to establish the
     old Laws, I answer, this was to prevent a sudden rising upon the
     cutting off the King's head; but afterwards they made these two
     Laws, to cast out the Kingly Power, and to make England a
     Common-wealth. And they have confirmed these two by the Engagement,
     which the people now generally do own and subscribe: Therefore by
     these Acts of Freedom they have abolished that Act that held up

     "Well, by these you may see your freedom; and we hope the Gentry
     hereafter will cheat the poor no longer of their Land; and we hope
     the Ministers hereafter will not tell the poor they have no right
     to the Land. For now the Land of England is and ought to be a
     Common Treasury to all Englishmen, as the several portions of the
     Land of Canaan were the common livelihood to such and such a Tribe,
     both to elder and younger Brother, without respect of persons. If
     you do deny this, you deny the Scriptures. And now we shall give
     you some few encouragements out of many to move you to stand up for
     your freedom in the Land by acting with plow and spade upon the

     "(1) By this means, within a short time, there will be no beggar
     or idle person in England, which will be the glory of England, and
     the glory of that Gospel which England seems to profess in words.

     "(2) The waste and common land being improved will bring in plenty
     of all commodities, and prevent famine, and pull down the price of
     corn, to 12d. a bushel, or less.

     "(3) It will prove England to be the first of Nations which falls
     off from the covetous beastly government first; and that sets the
     Crown of Freedom on Christ's head, to rule over the Nations of the
     World, and to declare him to be the joy and blessing of all
     Nations. This should move all Governors to strive who shall be the
     first that shall cast down their Crowns, Sceptres and Government at
     Christ's feet: and they that will not give Christ his own glory
     shall be shamed.

     "(4) This Commonwealth's Freedom will unite the hearts of
     Englishmen together in love; so that if a foreign enemy endeavour
     to come in, we shall all with joint consent rise up together to
     defend our inheritance, and shall be true one to another. Whereas
     now the poor see if they fight and should conquer the enemy, yet
     either they or their children are like to be slaves still, for the
     Gentry will have all. And this is the cause why many run away and
     fail our Armies in the time of need. And so through the Gentry's
     hardness of heart against the Poor, the Land may be left to a
     foreign enemy for want of the Poor's love sticking to them. For say
     they, we can as well live under a foreign enemy, working for day
     wages, as under our own bretheren, with whom we ought to have equal
     freedom by the Law of Righteousness.

     "(5) This freedom in planting the common land will prevent robbing,
     stealing and murdering, and prisons will not so mightily be filled
     with prisoners; and thereby we shall prevent that heart-breaking
     spectacle of seeing so many hanged every Session as there are. And
     surely this imprisoning and hanging of men is the Norman Power
     still, and cannot stand with the freedom of the Commonwealth, nor
     warranted by the Engagement. For by the Laws and Engagement of the
     Commonwealth, none ought to be hanged nor put to death, for other
     punishment may be found out. And those that do hang or put to death
     their fellow Englishmen, under colour of Laws, do break the Laws
     and Engagements by so doing, and cast themselves from under the
     protection of the Commonwealth, and are Traitors to England's
     Freedom, and upholders of the kingly, murdering power.

     "(6) This Freedom in the Common Earth is the Poor's Right by the
     Law of Creation and Equity of the Scriptures. For the Earth was not
     made for a few, but for whole mankind; for God is no respecter of

Winstanley then concludes as follows:

     "Now these few considerations we offer to all England, and we
     appeal to the judgement of all rational and righteous men whether
     this we speak be not that substantial truth brought forth into
     action, which Ministers have preached up, and all Religious Men
     have made profession of. For certainly God, who is the King of
     Righteousness, is not a God of words only, but of deeds; for it is
     the badge of hypocrisy for man to say and not to do. Therefore we
     leave this with you all, having peace in our hearts by declaring
     faithfully to you this Light that is in us, and which we do not
     only speak and write, but which we do easily act and practice.

     "Likewise we write it as a letter of congratulation and
     encouragement to our dear Fellow Englishmen that have begun to dig
     upon the Commons, thereby taking possession of their Freedom, in
     Wellinborow in Northamptonshire, and at Cox Hall in Kent, waiting
     to see the chains of slavish fear to break and fall off from the
     hearts of others in other countries till at last the whole Land is
     filled with the knowledge and righteousness of the Restoring Power,
     which is Christ Himself, Abraham's seed, who will spread Himself
     till He become the joy of all Nations.

     "Jerrard Winstanley, Richard Maidley, Thomas James, John Dickins,
     John Palmer, John South, _Elder_, Nathaniel Halcomb, Thomas Edcer,
     Henry Barton, John Smith, Jacob Heard, Thomas Barnet, Anthony Wren,
     John Hayman, William Hitchcock, Henry Hancocke, John Batty, Thomas
     Starre, Thomas Adams, John Coulton, Thomas South, Robert Sawyer,
     Daniel Ireland, Robert Draper, Robert Coster, and divers others
     that were not present when this went to the Presse.

     "_March 26th, 1650._"

We are afraid that the enterprise at Wellinborrow did not have a very
long life; for in the _Calendar of State Papers_, Domestic, Green, p.
106, under date April 15th, 1650, we note the following letter, which
seems to us to show that the Rulers of England were fully alive to "the
mischief these designs tend to," and to prove that it was the theories
of the Diggers, not their actions, that filled the breasts of the
privileged classes with the determination to nip their enterprise in the
bud, before it had time to influence the life and thought of the Nation:

     "COUNCIL OF STATE to Mr. PENTLOW, Justice of Peace for County

     "We approve your proceedings with the Levellers in those parts, and
     doubt not you are sensible of the mischief those designs tend to,
     and of the necessity to proceed effectually against them. If the
     laws in force against those who intrude upon other men's
     properties, and that forbid and direct the punishing of all riotous
     assemblies and seditious and tumultuous meetings, be put in
     execution, there will not want means to preserve the public peace
     against the attempts of this sort of people. Let those men be
     effectually proceeded against at the next Sessions, _and if any
     that ought to be instrumental to bring them to punishment fail in
     their duty, signify the same to us_, that we may require of them an
     account of their neglect; but till we find the ordinary means
     unable to preserve the peace, we would not have recourse to any

The sentence we have italicised seems to show that even amongst the
Justices of the Peace and Officers of the Land the doctrines of the
Diggers had found sympathisers, who were unwilling that they should be
proceeded against. Nor can we be surprised at this when we bear in mind
the terrible state of the rural population of the "meaner sort" at the
time. Some idea of same may be gathered in the Declaration from
Wellinborrow, which is more than fully confirmed in the pages of
Whitelocke, from which we take the following brief entries:

     (P. 398.) Under date April 30th, 1649:

     "Letters from Lancashire of their want of bread, so that many
     families were starved."

     (P. 399.) Under date May 1649:

     "Letters from Newcastle that many in Cumberland and Westmoreland
     died in the Highways for want of bread, and divers left their
     habitations, travelling with their wives and children to other
     parts to get Relief, but could have none. That the Committees and
     Justices of the Peace of Cumberland signed a certificate, that
     there were Thirty Thousand Families that had neither seed nor bread
     corn, nor money to buy either, and they desired a collection for
     them, which was made, but much too little to relieve so great a

     (P. 404.) Under date May 1649:

     "Letters from Lancashire of great scarcity of corn, and that the
     famine was sore among them, after which the plague overspread
     itself in many parts of the country, taking away whole families
     together, and few escaped where any house was visited, and that the
     Levellers got into arms, but were suppressed speedily by the

     (P. 421.) Under date August 1649:

     "Letters of great complaints of the taxes in Lancashire: and that
     the meaner sort threaten to leave their habitations, and their
     wives and children to be maintained by the Gentry; that they can no
     longer bear the oppression, to have the bread taken out of the
     mouths of their wives and children by taxes; and that if an army of
     the Turks came to relieve them, they will join them."

Under such circumstances we cannot be surprised that Winstanley's
revolutionary, though to our mind eternally true, doctrines, upholding
the equal claim of all to the use of the land, proclaimed as they were
with all the eloquence, zeal and fire of his noble spirit, should have
awakened an echo in the hearts of the more thoughtful, as well as of the
more necessitous, of his fellow-citizens. But all in vain. In his time,
as in our time, the Inward Light could not overcome the Outward
Darkness, nor Universal Love, which is Justice and Righteousness,
overcome Self Love, which is Covetousness. Then, as now, the Spirit of
Equity, of Reason and of Love was impotent when opposed by the power of
the Sword, of Force. And yet, and yet--more especially in view of the
thought to-day stirring advanced political circles in every
constitutionally governed country in the world--who dare maintain that
Winstanley lived in vain!

About a fortnight after the publication of his _Appeal to all
Englishmen_, Winstanley issued yet another pamphlet, of which, as it
contains nothing save what he had already better expressed in his other
writings, we need only quote the suggestive title-page, with which this
chapter may fittingly close: it reads as follows:

         ALL LAWYERS OF EVERY INNS-A-COURT:[161:1] to consider of the
         Scriptures and Points of Law herein mentioned, and to give a
         rational and Christian answer, whereby the difference may be
         composed in peace, between the Poor Men in England who have
         begun to dig, plow and build upon the Common Land, claiming it
         their own by right of Creation,


     The Lords of Manors that trouble them, who have no other claimings
         to Commons than from the King's will, or from the Power of the


     If neither Minister nor Lawyer will undertake a Reconciliation in
         this case. Then we appeal to the Stone, Timber and Dust of the
         Earth you tread upon, to hold forth the light of this business,
         questioning not but that Power that dwells everywhere will
         cause Light to spring out of Darkness, and Freedom out of


[146:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 1365.

[148:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 534. We have to
thank the late Rev. Thomas Hancock, of Harrow on the Hill, for this
reference. Mr. Hancock's profound knowledge of the Commonwealth times
was well known to every student of the period, at whose disposal he
gladly placed the wonderful store of information he had collected. We
would here acknowledge our indebtedness to him for this and other

[150:1] British Museum, under Wellingborrow, Press Mark, S. Sh. fol. 669
f., 15 (21).

[153:1] British Museum, Press Mark, S. Sh. fol. 669 f., 15 (23).

[161:1] There is no copy of this pamphlet at the British Museum, nor in
the Bodleian; but a copy is to be found in the Dyce and Forster Library,
South Kensington Museum, London, W.



                      "And when reason's voice,
    Loud as the voice of nature, shall have waked
    The nations; and mankind perceives that vice
    Is discord, war and misery; that virtue
    Is peace, and happiness and harmony;
    When man's maturer nature shall disdain
    The playthings of its childhood;--kingly glare
    Will lose its power to dazzle; its authority
    Will silently pass by; the gorgeous{7} throne
    Shall stand unnoticed in the regal hall,
    Fast falling to decay; whilst falsehood's trade
    Shall be as hateful and unprofitable
    As that of truth is now."--SHELLEY.

The above words of Shelley might have been written purposely to serve as
a preface to Winstanley's final work, the main contents of which we now
propose to lay before our readers. It happened to be the first of
Winstanley's works that fell into our hands, when, many years since, in
consequence of Carlyle's somewhat patronising reference to them, we
first determined to ascertain what the views and aims of the Diggers
really were. Its perusal{8} convinced us, and our subsequent
investigations have only served to strengthen the belief, that
Winstanley was, in truth, one of the most courageous, far-seeing and
philosophic preachers of social righteousness that England has given to
the world. And yet how unequally Fame bestows her rewards. More's
_Utopia_ has secured its author a world-wide renown; it is spoken of,
even if not read, in every civilised country in the world. Gerrard
Winstanley's Utopia is unknown even to his own countrymen. Yet let any
impartial student compare the ideal society conceived by Sir Thomas
More--a society based upon slavery, and extended by wars carried on by
hireling, mercenary soldiers--with the simple, peaceful, rational and
practical social ideal pictured by Gerrard Winstanley, and it is to the
latter that he will be forced to assign the laurel crown.

From internal evidence we gather that the book was written some time
before it was published. Winstanley had come to realise that the real
power of the Country was in the hands of the Army, of its trusted
officers and leaders. Hence it is, probably, that the opening epistle is
addressed to Oliver Cromwell, who at the time was Commander in Chief of
the Army, and the man to whom all England was looking with wonder and
admiration, not unmixed with anxious forebodings. The years that had
elapsed between the conception and the publication of Winstanley's book
had been momentous ones in this great man's career. Owing to Lord
Fairfax's reluctance to invade Scotland, the command of the
Commonwealth's Army had devolved on him: and right good use had the hero
of Naseby made of his opportunities. In September 1651 he won the
decisive battle of Dunbar; and in the same month of the following year
he won the even more decisive battle of Worcester, which, to use
Gardiner's words, manifested to the world that England refused "to be
ruled by a king who came in as an invader."[163:1] In the following
November, when Winstanley was sitting down to write his Dedicatory
Epistle, Cromwell was already back in his seat in Parliament,
endeavouring "to use the patriotic fervour called out by the invasion to
settle the Commonwealth on a broader basis," and agitating for "a time
to be fixed for the dissolution of the existing Parliament and for the
calling of a new one."[163:2] And in February 1652, when the book was
published, political and religious excitement in England was probably at
the greatest height to which it ever attained even in the stirring days
of the Commonwealth, and Cromwell may be regarded as standing at the
dividing line of his wonderful career.

The title-page of the book reads as follows:




     Humbly presented to Oliver Cromwel, General of the Commonwealth's
         Army in England, Scotland and Ireland. And to all English-men
         my Bretheren, whether in Church Fellowship or not in Church
         Fellowship,[164:2] both sorts walking as they conceive
         according to the order of the Gospel: and from them to all the
         Nations of the World.

     Wherein is declared, What is Kingly Government, and What is
         Commonwealth's Government.


         In thee, O England, is the Law arising up to shine,
         If thou receive and practice it, the Crown it will be thine.
         If thou reject, and still remain a froward Son to be,
         Another Land will it receive, and take the Crown from thee.

         REV. 11-15.        DAN. 7. 27.


     Printed for the Author, and are to be sold by Giles Calvert at the
         Black Spred-Eagle at the West end of Pauls."

As already mentioned, it opens with a Dedicatory Letter--

     "To His Excellency OLIVER CROMWEL, General of the Commonwealth's
         Army in England, Scotland and  Ireland"--

which commences as follows:

     "SIR,--God hath honored you with the highest honor of any man since
     Moses' time, to be the head of a People who have cast out an
     oppressing Pharaoh. For when the Norman Power had conquered our
     forefathers, he took the free use of our English Ground from them,
     and made them his servants. And God hath made you a successful
     instrument to cast out that Conqueror, and to recover our Land and
     Liberties again, by your Victories, out of that Norman hand."

Winstanley then indicates Cromwell's duty, as well as the alternative
ways open to him, in the following words:

     "That which is wanting on your part to be done is this, To see the
     Oppressor's Power be cast out with his person; and to see that the
     free possession of the Land and Liberties be put into the hands of
     the Oppressed Commoners of England. For the Crown of Honor cannot
     be yours, neither can these Victories be called victories on your
     part, till the Land and Freedom won be possessed by them that
     adventured person and purse for them.

     "Now you know, Sir, that the Kingly Conqueror was not beaten by you
     only, as you are a single man, nor by the Officers of the Army
     joined to you; but by the hand and assistance of the Commoners,
     whereof some came in person and adventured their lives with you,
     others stayed at home and planted the Earth, and paid Taxes and
     gave Free Quarter to maintain you that went to war.... And now you
     have the Power of the Land in your hand, you must do one of these
     two things: First, either set the Land free to the Oppressed
     Commoners who assisted you ... and so take possession of your
     deserved honor. Or, secondly, you must only remove the Conqueror's
     power out of the King's hand into other men's, maintaining the old
     laws still; and then your wisdom and honor will be blasted for
     ever, and you will either lose yourself, or lay the foundation of
     greater slavery to posterity than you ever knew."

A marvellous prophecy, truly! Cromwell could see nothing in Winstanley's
demands save that they tended "to make the Tenant as liberal a fortune
as the Land-lord,"[165:1] which did not conform to his sense of the
eternal fitness of things. Winstanley then continues:

     "You know that while the King was in the height of his oppressing
     power, the People only whispered in private chambers against him;
     but afterwards it was preached upon the house-tops, that he was a
     Tyrant, a Traitor to England's Peace: and he had his overturn.

     "The Righteous Power in the Creation is the same still. If you and
     those in power with you should be found walking in the King's
     steps, can you secure yourselves or posterities from an overturn?
     Surely No.

     "The Spirit of the whole Creation (who is God) is about the
     Reformation of the World, and he will go forward in his
     work.[166:1] For if he would not spare Kings, who have sat so long
     at his right hand, governing the world, neither will he regard you,
     unless your ways be found more righteous than the King's.... Lose
     not your Crown; take it up and wear it. But know that it is no
     Crown of Honor till promises and engagements made by you be
     performed to your friends. _He that continues to the end, shall
     receive the Crown._ Now you do not see the end of your work unless
     the Kingly Law and Power be removed as well as his person."


He subsequently returns to his original subject, as follows:

     "It may be you will say to me, _What shall I do?_ I answer, You are
     in place and power to see all Burthens taken off from your friends
     the Commoners of England. You will say, _What are those burthens?_

     "I will instance in some, both which I know in my own experience,
     and which I hear the people daily complaining of and groaning
     under, looking upon you and waiting for deliverance.

     "Most people cry, We have paid taxes, given free-quarter, wasted
     our estates, and lost our friends in the wars, and the Task-masters
     multiply over us more than formerly. I have asked divers this
     question, _Why do you say so?_

     "Some have answered me that promises, oaths and engagements have
     been made, as a motive to draw us to assist in the wars, that
     Privileges of Parliament and Liberties of Subjects should be
     preserved, and that all Popery and Episcopacy and Tyranny should be
     rooted out. And these promises are not performed. Now there is an
     opportunity to perform them.

     "For first, say they, the current of succeeding Parliaments is
     stopped, which is one of the greatest privileges (and people's
     liberties) for safety and peace. And if that continue stopped, we
     shall be more offended by an hereditary Parliament than we were
     oppressed by an hereditary King.

     "And for the Commoners, who were called Subjects while the Kingly
     Conqueror was in power, they have not as yet their Liberties
     granted them. I will instance them in order, according as the
     common whisperings are among the people."


     "For say they, The Burthens of the Clergy remain still upon us, in
     a threefold nature.

     "_First_, If any man declare his judgement in the things of God
     contrary to the Clergy's report, or the minds of some high
     Officers, they are cashiered, imprisoned, crushed and undone, and
     made sinners for a word, as they were in the Popes and Bishops
     days; so that though their names be cast out, yet their High
     Commission Court Power remains still, persecuting men for
     conscience sake, when their actions are unblamable.

     "_Secondly_,{9} In many Parishes there are old, formal, ignorant
     Episcopal Priests established; and some Ministers, who are bitter
     enemies to Commonwealth's Freedom, and friends to Monarchy, are
     established preachers, and are continually buzzing their subtle
     principles into the minds of the people, to undermine the peace of
     our declared Commonwealth, causing a disaffection of spirit among
     neighbours, who otherwise would live in peace.

     "_Thirdly_, The burthen of Tythes remains still upon our estates,
     which was taken from us by the Kings and given to the Clergy to
     maintain them by our labors. So that though their preaching fill
     the minds of many with madness, contention and unsatisfied
     doubting, because their imaginary and ungrounded doctrines cannot
     be understood by them, yet we must pay them large Tythes for so
     doing: this is Oppression."


     "_Fourthly_, If we go to the Lawyer, we find him to sit in the
     Conqueror's Chair, though the King be removed, maintaining the
     King's power to the height....

     "_Fifthly_, Say they, if we look upon the Customs of the Law
     itself, it is the same it was in the King's days, only the name is
     altered; as if the Commoners of England had paid their taxes, given
     free-quarter, and shed their blood, not to reform, but to baptize
     the Law with a new name, from Kingly Law to State Law....[168:1]
     And so as the Sword pulls down Kingly Power with one hand, the
     King's Old Law builds up Monarchy again with the other."



     "_Sixthly_, If we look into Parishes, the burthens there are many."


     "_First_, For the Power of Lords of Manors remains still over their
     Bretheren, requiring Fines and Heriots, beating them off the free
     use of the Common Land, unless their Bretheren will pay them Rent,
     exacting obedience as much as they did, and more, when the King was
     in power.

     "Now saith the People, By what Power do these maintain their Title
     over us? Formerly they held Title from the King, as he was the
     Conqueror's successor. But have not the Commoners cast out the
     King, and broken the band of that Conquest? Therefore in equity
     they are free from the slavery of that Lordly Power.

     "_Secondly_, In Parishes where Commons lie, the rich Norman
     Free-holders, or the new (more covetous) Gentry, overstock the
     Commons with sheep and cattle, so that the inferior Tenants and
     poor Labourers can hardly keep a cow, but half starve her. So that
     the poor are kept poor still, and the Common Freedom of the Earth
     is kept from them, and the poor have no more relief than they had
     when the King (or Conqueror) was in power....

     "Now saith the whisperings of the People, the inferior Tenants and
     Laborers bear all the burthens, in laboring the Earth, in paying
     Taxes and Free-quarter above their strength, and in furnishing the
     Armies with soldiers, who bear the greatest burden of the War; and
     yet the Gentry, who oppress them and live idle upon their labors,
     carry away all the comfortable livelihood of the Earth.

     "For is not this a common speech among the People, We have parted
     with our estates, we have lost our friends in the wars, which we
     willingly gave up because Freedom was promised us; and now in the
     end we have new Task-masters, and our old burthens are increased.
     And though all sorts of people have taken an engagement to cast out
     Kingly Power, yet Kingly Power remains in power still in the hands
     of those who have no more right to the Earth than ourselves.

     "For say the people, If the Lords of Manors and our Task-masters
     hold Title to the Earth over us from the old Kingly Power, behold
     that power is broken and cast out. And two Acts of Parliament have
     been made. The one to cast out Kingly Power, backed by the
     Engagement against King and the House of Lords. The other to make
     England a Free Commonwealth."

He then still further supports his fundamental contention in the
following unanswerable manner:

     "If Lords of Manors lay claim to the Earth over us from the Army's
     Victories over the King; then we have as much right to the Land as
     they, because our labors and blood and death of friends, were the
     purchasers of the Earth's Freedom as well as theirs. And is not
     this a slavery, say the people, that though there be land enough in
     England to maintain ten times as many people as are in it, yet some
     must beg of their bretheren, or work in hard drudgery for day wages
     for them, or starve, or steal, and so be hanged out of the way, as
     men not fit to live on the Earth? Before they are suffered to plant
     the waste land for a livelihood, they must pay rent to their
     bretheren for it. Well, this is a burthen the Creation groans
     under; and the subjects (so-called) have not their birth-right
     freedom granted them from their bretheren, who hold it from them by
     Club-Law, but not by Righteousness."


     "And who now must we be subject to, seeing the Conqueror is gone? I
     answer, We must either be subject to a law or to men's wills. If to
     a law, then _all_ men in England are subject, or ought to be,
     thereunto.... You will say, We must be subject to the Rulers. This
     is true, but not to suffer the Rulers to call the Earth theirs and
     not ours; for by so doing they betray their trust and run into the
     line of tyranny, and we lose our freedom, and from thence enmity
     and wars arise. A Ruler is worthy double honor when he rules well;
     that is, when he himself is subject to the Law, and requires all
     others to be subject thereunto, and makes it his work to see the
     Law obeyed, and not his own will; and such Rulers are faithful, and
     they are to be subjected unto us therein: For all Commonwealth's
     Rulers are Servants to, not Lords and Kings over the


     "But you will say, Is not the land your brother's? and you cannot
     take away another man's right by claiming a share therein with him.
     I answer, It is his either by Creation Right or by Right of
     Conquest. If by Creation Right he calls the Earth his and not mine,
     then it is mine as well as his; for the Spirit of the whole
     Creation, who made us both, is no respecter of persons. And if by
     Conquest he calls the Earth his and not mine, it must be either by
     the conquest of the King over the Commoners or by the conquest of
     the Commoners over the King. If he claim the Earth to be his from
     the King's Conquest, the Kings are beaten and cast out, and that
     title is undone. If he claim title to the Earth to be his from the
     conquest of the Commoners over the Kings, then I have right to the
     land as well as my brother; for my brother without me, nor I
     without my brother, did not cast out the Kings; but both together
     assisting, with purse and person, we prevailed, so that I have by
     this victory as equal a share in the Earth which is now redeemed as
     my brother, by the Law of Righteousness.

     "If my brother still say he will be Land Lord (through his covetous
     ambition) and I must pay him rent, or else I shall not live in the
     Land, then does he take my right from me, which I have purchased by
     my money in taxes, free-quarter and blood. And O thou Spirit of the
     Whole Creation, who hath this title to be called King of
     Righteousness and King of Peace, judge thou between my brother and
     me, Whether this be Righteous, etc.

     "And now say the people, Is not this a grievous thing, that our
     bretheren that will be Land Lords, right or wrong, will make Laws,
     and call for a Law to be made to imprison, crush, nay put to death
     any that denies God, Christ and Scripture; and yet they will not
     practice that Golden Rule, _Do to another as thou wouldst have
     another do to thee_, which God, Christ and Scripture have enacted
     for a Law? Are not these men guilty of death by their own Law,
     which is the word of their own mouth? Is it not a flat denial of
     God and Scripture?"

Winstanley then gives some interesting details of the history of this
pamphlet, as follows:

     "Thus, Sir, I have reckoned up some of those burdens which the
     people groan under. And I being sensible hereof was moved in myself
     to present this Platform of Commonwealth's Government unto you,
     wherein I have declared a full Commonwealth's Freedom, according to
     the Rule of Righteousness, which is God's Word. It was intended for
     your view about two years ago, but the disorder of the times caused
     me to lay it aside, with a thought never to bring it to light.
     Likewise I hearing that Mr. Peters and some others propounded this
     request--That the Word of God might be consulted with to find out a
     healing Government, which I liked well, and waited to see such a
     Rule come forth, for there are good Rules in the Scripture if they
     were obeyed and practised.

     "I laid aside this in silence, and said I would not make it public;
     but this word was like fire in my bones ever and anon--_Thou shalt
     not bury thy talent in the earth_. Thereupon I was stirred to give
     it a resurrection, and to pick together as many of my scattered
     papers as I could find, and to compile them into this method, which
     I do here present to you, and do quiet my own spirit. And now I
     have set the candle at your door; for you have power in your hand
     to act for Common Freedom if you will: I have no power."

He then continues to indicate his own views, as also the outlines of the
scheme the details of which are unfolded in the body of his work, and
warns Cromwell that--

     "It may be here are some things inserted which you may not like,
     yet other things you may like; therefore I pray you read it, and be
     as the industrious bee, suck out the honey and cast away the weeds.
     Though this Platform be like a piece of timber rough-hewed, yet the
     discreet workman may take it and frame a handsome building out of


     "It may be you will say, If Tythe be taken from the Priests and
     Impropriators, and Copyhold Services from Lords of Manors, how
     shall they be provided for again; for is it not unrighteous to take
     their estates from them?

     "I answer, When Tythes were first enacted, and Lordly Power drawn
     over the backs of the oppressed, the Kings and Conquerors made no
     scruple of conscience to take it, though the people lived in sore
     bondage of poverty for want of it; and can there be scruple of
     conscience to make restitution of this which hath been so long
     stolen goods? It is no scruple arising from the Righteous Law, but
     from Covetousness, who goes away sorrowful to hear he must part
     with all to follow Righteousness and Peace."

He then explains that under his scheme even the privileged classes would
not be injured, since they would share with the rest of the community.


     "But shall not one man be richer than another?

     "There is no need for that; for riches make men vainglorious,
     proud, and to oppress their bretheren, and are the occasion of
     wars. No man can be rich but he must be rich either by his own
     labors, or by the labors of other men helping him. If a man have no
     help from his neighbors, he shall never gather an estate of
     hundreds and thousands a year. If other men help him to work, then
     are those riches his neighbors' as well as his; for they be the
     fruits of other men's labors as well as his own. But all rich men
     live at ease, feeding and clothing themselves by the labors of
     other men, not by their own, which is their shame and not their
     nobility; for it is a more blessed thing to give than to receive.
     But rich men receive all they have from the laborer's hand, and
     what they give, they give away other men's labors, not their own.
     Therefore they are not righteous actors in the Earth."


     "But shall not one man have more Titles of Honor than another?

     "Yes: As a man goes through offices, he rises to Titles of Honor,
     till he comes to the highest nobility, to be a faithful
     Commonwealth's Man in a Parliament House. Likewise he who finds out
     any secret in Nature shall have a Title of Honor given him, though
     he be a young man. But no man shall have any Title of Honor till he
     win it by industry, or come to it by age or Office-bearing. Every
     man that is fifty years of age shall have respect as a man of honor
     from all others that are younger, as is shown hereafter."


     "Shall every man count his neighbour's house as his own, and live
     together as one family?

     "No; though the Earth and Storehouses be common to every Family,
     yet every Family shall live apart as they do; and every man's
     house, wife, children and furniture for ornament of his house, or
     anything he hath fetched in from the Storehouses, or provided for
     the necessary use of his family, is all a propriety unto that
     Family, for the peace thereof. And if any man offer to take away a
     man's wife, children, or furniture of his house, without his
     consent, or disturb the peace of his dwelling, he shall suffer
     punishment as an enemy to the Commonwealth's Government, as is
     mentioned in the Platform following."


     "Shall we have no Lawyers?

     "There shall be no need of them, for there is to be no buying and
     selling, neither any need to expound Laws; for the bare letter of
     the Law shall be both Judge and Lawyer, trying every man's actions.
     And seeing we shall have successive Parliaments every year, there
     will be rules made for every action that a man can do.

     "But there are to be Officers chosen yearly in every Parish, to see
     the Laws executed according to the letter of the Laws; so that
     there will be no long work in trying of offences, as it is under
     Kingly Government, to get the Lawyers money, and to enslave the
     Commoners to the Conqueror's Prerogative Law or Will. The sons of
     contention, Simeon and Levi, must not bear rule in a Free


     "At the first view you may say, 'This is a strange government.' But
     I pray you judge nothing before trial. Lay this Platform of
     Commonwealth's Government in one scale, and lay Monarchy, or Kingly
     Government, in the other scale, and see which gives true weight to
     Righteous Freedom and Peace. _There is no middle path between
     these two; for a man must either be a free and true Commonwealth
     man, or a Monarchial Tyrannical Royalist._"


     "If any say this will bring poverty, surely they mistake: for there
     will be plenty of all Earthly Commodities, with less labor and
     trouble then now it is under Monarchy. There will be no want; for
     every man may keep as plentiful a house as he will, and never run
     into debt, for common stock pays for all.

     "If you say, Some will live idle; I answer, No. It will make idle
     persons to become workers, as is declared in the Platform: There
     shall be neither Beggar nor Idle Person.

     "If you say, This will make men quarrel and fight; I answer, No. It
     will turn Swords into Ploughshares, and settle such a peace in the
     Earth as Nations shall learn war no more. Indeed, the Government of
     Kings is a breeder of wars, because men being put into the straits
     of poverty, are moved to fight for Liberty, and to take one
     another's estates from them, and to obtain Mastery. Look into all
     Armies and see what they do more, but make some poor, some rich,
     put some into freedom others into bondage: and is not this a plague
     among mankind?

     "Well I question not but what Objections can be raised against this
     Commonwealth's Government, they shall find an answer in this
     Platform following. I have been something large, because I could
     not contract myself into a lesser volume, having so many things to
     speak of."


     "I do not say nor desire that everyone shall be compelled to
     practice this Commonwealth's Government; for the spirits of some
     will be enemies at first, though afterwards they will prove the
     most cordial and true friends thereunto. Yet I desire that the
     Commonwealth's Land ... may be set free to all that have lent
     assistance{10} either of person or purse to obtain it, and to all
     that are willing to come in to the practice of this Government, and
     be obedient to the Laws thereof. And for others who are not
     willing, let them stay in the way of buying and selling, which is
     the Law of the Conqueror, till they be willing."


     "And so I leave this in your hand, humbly prostrating myself and it
     before you, and remain, A true lover of Commonwealth's Government,
     Peace and Freedom.
                                             "GERRARD WINSTANLEY.
     "_November 5th, 1651._"


The somewhat long, though comprehensive, letter to Cromwell is followed
by one addressed "To the Friendly and Unbiassed Reader," in which a very
different tone is adopted, and which runs as follows:

     "READER,--It was the Apostle's advice formerly to try all things,
     and to hold fast that which is best. This Platform of Government
     which I offer is the original Righteousness and Peace in the Earth,
     though he hath been buried under the clod of Kingly Covetousness,
     Pride and Oppression a long time. Now he begins to have his
     Resurrection, despise it not while it is small; though thou
     understand it not at the first sight, yet open the door and look
     into the house; for thou mayst see that which will satisfy thy
     heart in quiet rest."


     "To prevent thy hasty rashness, I have given thee a short
     compendium of the whole.

     "_First_, Thou knowst that the Earth in all Nations is governed by
     buying and selling, for all the Laws of Kings hath relation
     thereunto. Now this Platform following declares to thee the
     Government of the Earth without buying and selling, and the Laws
     are the Laws of a free and peaceable Commonwealth....

     "Every family shall live apart, as now they do; every man shall
     enjoy his own wife, and every woman her own husband, as now they
     do: every Trade shall be improved to more excellency than now it
     is; all children shall be educated and trained up in subjection to
     parents and elder persons more than now they are: The Earth shall
     be planted and the fruits reaped and carried into Storehouses by
     common assistance of every family: The Riches of the Storehouses
     shall be the common stock to every Family: There shall be no idle
     person nor beggar in the Land."


     "The Commonwealth's Government unites all people in a Land into one
     heart and mind. And it was this Government which made Moses to call
     Abraham's seed one House of Israel, though there were many Tribes
     and many Families. And it may be said, Blessed is the People whose
     Earthly Government is the Law of Common Righteousness....

     "The Government of Kings is the Government of the Scribes and
     Pharisees, who count it no freedom unless they be the Lords of the
     Earth and of their Bretheren. But Commonwealth's Government is the
     Government of Righteousness and Peace, who is no respecter of


     "Therefore, Reader, here is a trial for thy sincerity. Thou shalt
     have no want of food, raiment or freedom among bretheren in this
     way propounded. See now if thou canst be content, as the Scriptures
     say, Having food and raiment therewith be content, and grudge not
     to let thy brother have the same with thee.

     "Dost thou pray and fast for Freedom, and give God thanks again for
     it? Why, know that God is not partial. For if thou pray, it must be
     for Freedom to all; and if thou give thanks, it must be because
     Freedom covers all people: for this will prove a lasting peace.

     "Everyone is ready to say, They fight for their Country, and what
     they do, they do it is for the good of their Country. Well, let it
     appear now that thou hast fought and acted for thy Country's
     Freedom. But if when thou hast power to settle Freedom in thy
     Country, thou takest the possession of the Earth into thy own
     particular hands, and makest thy Brother work for thee, as the
     Kings did, thou hast fought and acted for thyself, not for thy
     Country, and here thy inside hypocrisy is discovered.

     "But here take notice, That Common Freedom, which is the Rule I
     would have practiced and not talked on, was thy pretence, but
     particular Freedom to thyself was thy intent. Amend, or else thou
     wilt be shamed, when Knowledge doth spread to cover the Earth, even
     as the waters cover the Seas. And so Farewell.
                                                           J. W."

To-day knowledge is commencing "to spread to cover the Earth even as the
waters cover the Seas"; and the thinkers of our times are rapidly coming
to realise, to use Shelley's words, that--"The most fatal error that
ever happened in the world was the separation of political and ethical
science": a separation against which, as we have seen, Winstanley in his
time protested so vigorously. Hence it is, probably, that the teachings
of our modern seers and prophets, of the leaders and inspirers of the
advanced thought of to-day, of Ruskin, Tolstoy, and even of Henry
George, almost seem to us but as the echoes of those of their great
forerunner in the stirring days of the Commonwealth.


[163:1] _History of the Commonwealth_, vol. i. p. 446.

[163:2] _Ibid._ p. 471.

[164:1] King's Pamphlets. British Museum, Press Mark, E. 655. Also at
the Guildhall Library and the Bodleian.

[164:2] At the very time this book was being written, some of the new
settlements in America were making Church Fellowship a necessary
condition of civil rights.

[165:1] See Carlyle's _Letters and Speeches_, Speech II., Sept. 4th,
1654, part viii. p. 20.

[166:1] This argument would have appealed strongly to Cromwell, who, in
one of his Speeches to his First Parliament, said: "If I had not a hope
fixed in me that this cause and this business was of God, I would many
years ago have run from it. If it be of God, He will bear it up. If it
be of man, it will tumble; as everything that hath been of man since the
world began hath done. And what are all our Histories and other
Traditions of Actions in former times but God manifesting Himself, that
He hath shaken and tumbled down, and trampled upon everything that He
had not planted."--Carlyle, _Letters and Speeches_, part viii. p. 89.

[168:1] With this contention, too, Cromwell would have found himself in
complete sympathy. For "the truth of it is, There are wicked and
abominable laws which will be in your power to alter," he said to one of
his Parliaments on Sept. 17th, 1656. "To hang a man for
Six-and-eight-pence, and I know not what; to hang for a trifle and
acquit murder,--is in the ministration of the Law, through the ill
framing of it. I have known in my experience abominable murders
acquitted. And to see men lose their lives for petty matters: this is a
thing God will reckon for. And I wish it may not lie upon this Nation a
day longer than you have an opportunity to give a remedy; and I hope I
shall cheerfully join with you in it. This hath been a great grief to
many honest hearts and conscientious people; and I hope it is in all
your hearts to rectify it."

[170:1] "And truly this is matter of praise to God:--and it hath some
instruction in it, To own men who are religious and godly. And so many
of them as are peaceable and honestly and quietly disposed to live
within Government, and will be subject to those Gospel rules of obeying
Magistrates and living under Authority. I reckon no Godliness without
that circle! Without that spirit, let it pretend what it will, it is
diabolical, it is devilish," and so on. See Cromwell's Speech to his
Second Parliament, April 13th, 1657 (Carlyle, part x. p. 250). It would
almost seem as if Winstanley had written the above paragraph to answer
this explosive utterance of Cromwell, some six years before it took
place. As a matter of fact, of course, he was only answering an
objection which every little conventional upholder of existing abuses,
in his time as in our time, would be sure to make in one form or other.



THE LAW OF FREEDOM (_continued_)

                    "Look on yonder earth:
    The golden harvests spring; the unfailing sun
    Sheds light and life; the fruits, the flowers, the trees,
    Arise in due succession; all things speak
    Peace, harmony and love.... Is Mother Earth
    A step-dame to her numerous sons, who earn
    Her unshared gifts with unremitting toil;
    A mother only to those puling babes
    Who, nursed in ease and luxury, make men
    The playthings of their babyhood, and mar,
    In self-important childishness, that peace
    Which men alone appreciate?"--SHELLEY.

"The end of law," says Locke, "is not to abolish or restrain, but to
preserve and enlarge freedom." Winstanley evidently held the same view;
for he commences this, his last and greatest book, as follows:


     "The great searching of heart in these days is to find out where
     true Freedom lies, that the Commonwealth of England might be
     established in peace. Some say, It lies in the free use of Trading,
     and to have all Patents, Licenses and Restraints removed: But this
     is a Freedom under the Will of a Conqueror. Others say, It is true
     Freedom to have Ministers to preach, and for people to hear whom
     they will, without being restrained or compelled from or to any
     form of worship: But this is an unsettled Freedom.... Others say,
     It is true Freedom that the Elder Brother shall be Land Lord of the
     Earth, and the Younger Brother a Servant: And this is but a half
     Freedom, and begets murmurings, wars and quarrels.

     "All these, and such like, are Freedoms; but they lead to Bondage,
     and are not the true Foundation-Freedom which settles a
     Commonwealth in Peace.


     "True Freedom lies where a man receives his nourishment and
     preservation, and that is in the use of the Earth.... All that a
     man labors for, saith Solomon, is this, That he may enjoy the free
     use of the Earth with the fruits thereof (Eccles. 2. 24). Do not
     the Ministers preach for maintenance in the Earth? The Lawyers
     plead causes to get the possessions of the Earth? Doth not the
     Soldier fight for the Earth? And doth not the Land Lord require
     Rent that he may live in the fullness of the Earth by the labor of
     his Tenants? And so from the Thief upon the Highway to the King who
     sits upon the Throne, does not everyone strive, either by force of
     Arms or secret Cheats, to get the possessions of the Earth one from
     another, because they see their Freedom lies in plenty, and their
     Bondage lies in Poverty?"

Then occurs this eternally true passage:

     "Surely, then, oppressing Lords of Manors, exacting Land-lords and
     Tythe-takers, may as well say their Bretheren shall not breathe in
     the air, nor enjoy warmth in their bodies, nor have the moist
     waters to fall upon them in showers, unless they will pay them rent
     for it, as to say their Bretheren shall not work upon Earth, nor
     eat the fruits thereof, unless they will hire that liberty of them.
     For he that takes upon him to restrain his Brother from the liberty
     of the one, may upon the same ground restrain him from the liberty
     of all four, viz., Fire, Water, Earth and Air.

     "A man had better to have had no body than to have no food for it.
     Therefore this restraining of the Earth from Bretheren by Bretheren
     is oppression and bondage; but the free enjoyment thereof is true


     "I speak now in relation between the Oppressor and the Oppressed,
     the Inward Bondages I meddle not with in this place, though I am
     assured that if it be rightly searched into, the inward bondages of
     the mind, as covetousness, pride, hypocrisy, envy, sorrow, fears,
     desperation and madness, are all occasioned by the outward bondage
     that one sort of people lay upon another. And thus far natural
     experience makes it good, THAT TRUE FREEDOM LIES IN THE FREE


     "Government is a wise and free ordering of the Earth and of the
     Manners of Mankind by observation of particular Laws or Rules, so
     that all the inhabitants may live peaceably in plenty and freedom
     in the Land where they are born and bred."

With this most suggestive, philosophic and beautiful definition of
Government, Winstanley opens his second chapter, and immediately
elucidates his views on this all-important subject by drawing what we
regard as a true and just comparison between what he well terms Kingly
Government and Commonwealth's Government, or, what would now be termed,
Aristocracy and Democracy, as follows:


     "There is a twofold Government: a Kingly Government and a
     Commonwealth's Government.

     "Kingly Government governs the Earth by that cheating art of buying
     and selling, and thereby becomes a man of contention, his hand is
     against every man, and every man's hand against him ... and if it
     had not a Club Law to support it, there would be no order in it,
     because it is but the covetous and proud will of a Conqueror
     enslaving a conquered people.... Indeed, this Government may well
     be called the Government of Highwaymen, who hath stolen the Earth
     from the Younger Bretheren by force and holds it from them by
     force.... The great Lawgiver of this Kingly Government is
     Covetousness, ruling in the hearts of mankind, making one Brother
     to covet a full possession of the Earth, and a Lordly Rule over
     another Brother.... The Rise of Kingly Government is attributable
     to a politic wit in drawing the people out of Common Freedom into
     a way of Common Bondage: FOR SO LONG AS THE EARTH IS A COMMON


     "Commonwealth's Government governs the Earth without buying and
     selling, and thereby becomes a man of peace, and the Restorer of
     Ancient Peace and Freedom. He makes provision for the oppressed,
     the weak and the simple, as well as for the rich, the wise and the
     strong.... All slavery and Oppressions ... are cast out by this
     Government, _if it be right in power as well as in name_ ... IF

     "If true Commonwealth's Freedom lies in the free enjoyment of the
     Earth, as it doth, then whatsoever Law or Custom doth deprive
     Bretheren of their Freedom in the Earth is to be cast out as
     unsavoury salt."

And after reminding his readers that "the great Lawgiver in
Commonwealth's Government is the Spirit of Universal Righteousness," and
warning them of the evils that would necessarily attend their posterity
if they heeded not His dictates, he continues:

     "If you do not run in the right channel of Freedom, you must, nay,
     you will as you do, face about and turn back again to Egyptian
     Monarchy; and so your names in the days of posterity shall be
     blasted with abhorred infamy for your unfaithfulness to Common
     Freedom; and the evil effects will be sharp upon the backs of

     "Therefore, seeing England is declared to be a Free Commonwealth,
     and the name thereof established by a Law; surely then the greatest
     work is now to be done; and that is, to escape all Kingly cheats in
     setting up a Commonwealth's Government, so that the power and the
     name may agree together; so that all the inhabitants may live in
     peace, plenty and freedom.... For oppression was always the
     occasion why the spirit of freedom in the people desired change of
     government.... And the oppressions of the Kingly Government have
     made this age of the world to desire a Commonwealth's Government
     and the removal of the Kings: for the Spirit of Light in man loves
     Freedom and hates Bondage."


In the third chapter, under the above heading, Winstanley first points
out that--"The original root of Magistracy is Common Preservation; and
it rose up first in a private family," and then continues:


     "There are two roots whence Laws do spring. The first root is
     Common Preservation, when there is a principle in every one to seek
     the good of others as himself, without respecting persons: and this
     is the root of the tree Magistracy, and the Law of Righteousness
     and Peace: and all particular Laws found out by experience
     necessary to be practiced for common preservation, are the boughs
     and branches of that tree."


     "And because among the variety of mankind ignorance may grow up,
     therefore this Original Law is written in the hearts of every man,
     to be his guide and leader; so that if an Officer be blinded by
     covetousness and pride, and ignorance rule in him, yet an inferior
     man may tell him when he goes astray. For COMMON PRESERVATION AND
     will preach or practice Fundamental Truths, or Doctrine, here you
     may see where the foundation thereof lies."


     "The second root is Self-Preservation: when particular Officers
     seek their own preservation, ease, honor, riches, and freedom in
     the Earth, and do respect persons that are in power and riches with
     them, and regard not the peace, freedom, and preservation of the
     weak and foolish among Bretheren."


     "This is the root of the tree Tyranny, and the Law of
     Unrighteousness; and all particular Kingly Laws found out by
     Covetous Policy to enslave one Brother to another, whereby bondage,
     tears, sorrows and poverty are brought upon many men, are all but
     the boughs and branches of that tree Tyranny.... Indeed, this
     Tyranny is the cause of all wars and troubles, of the removal of
     the Government of the Earth out of one hand into another so often
     as it is in all Nations. For if Magistrates had a care to cherish
     the peace and liberties of the common people, and to see them set
     free from oppression, they might sit in the Chair of Government and
     never be disturbed. But when their sitting is altogether to advance
     their own interest, and to forget the afflictions of their
     Bretheren who are under bondage: this is the forerunner of their
     own downfall, and oftentimes proves the plague of the whole Land.

     "Therefore the work of all true Magistrates is to maintain the
     Common Law, which is the root of right government, and preservation
     and peace to everyone; and to cast out all self-ended principles
     and interests, which is Tyranny and Oppression, and which breaks
     common peace. For surely the disorderly actings of Officers break
     the peace of the Commonwealth more than any men whatsoever."


     "He who is a true Commonwealth's officer is not to step into the
     place of Magistracy by policy or violent force, as all Kings and
     Conquerors do, and so become oppressing Tyrants, by promoting their
     self-ended Interests, or Machiavilian Cheats, that they may live in
     plenty and rule as Lords over their Bretheren. But a true
     Commonwealth's Officer is to be a chosen one by them who are in
     necessity and who judge him fit for that work....

     "When the people have chosen all Officers, to preserve a right
     order in government of earth among them, then doth the same
     necessity of common peace move the people to say to their Overseers
     and Officers--'_Do you see our Laws observed for our preservation
     and peace, and we will assist and protect you._' And these words
     _assist_ and _protect_ imply the rising up of the people by force
     of arms to defend their Laws and Officers against any Invasion,
     Rebellion or Resistance: yea, to beat down the turbulency of any
     foolish or self-ended spirit that endeavours to break their common


     "So that all true Officers are chosen Officers, and when they act
     to satisfy the necessities of them who chose them, then they are
     faithful and righteous servants to that Commonwealth, and then
     there is a rejoicing in the City. But when Officers do take the
     possessions of the Earth into their own hands, lifting themselves
     up thereby to be Lords over their Masters, the people who choose
     them, and will not suffer the people to plant the Earth and reap
     the fruits for their livelihood unless they will hire the land of
     them, or work for day wages for them, that they may live in ease
     and plenty and not work: These Officers are fallen from true
     Magistracy of a Commonwealth, and they do not act righteously, and
     because of this sorrow and tears, poverty and bondages are known
     among mankind, and now that City mourns."


Winstanley believed that power of any sort, more especially if long
enjoyed, tends to corrupt and to deteriorate. He therefore advocates,
and shows surprisingly good reasons for his advocacy, that new Officers
should be appointed every year. He says:

     "When public Officers remain long in places of Judicature, they
     will degenerate from the bounds of humility, honesty and tender
     care of bretheren, in regard the heart of man is so subject to be
     overspread with the clouds of covetousness, pride and vain-glory.
     For though at the first entrance into places of Rule they be of
     public spirits, seeking the Freedom of others as their own; yet
     continuing long in such a place, where honors and greatness come
     in, they become selfish, seeking themselves, and not Common
     Freedom; as experience proves it true in these days, according to
     this common proverb--'_Great offices in a Land and Army have
     changed the disposition of many sweet spirited men._'

     "And Nature tells us, that if water stand long, it corrupts;
     whereas running water keeps sweet and is fit for common use.

     "Therefore, as the necessity of Common Preservation moves the
     people to frame a Law and to choose Officers to see the Law
     obeyed, that they may live in peace: So doth the same necessity bid
     the people, and cries aloud in the ears and eyes of England, to
     choose new Officers, and to remove the old ones, and to choose
     State Officers every year: and that for these reasons:

     "_First_, To prevent their own evils: for when pride and fulness
     take hold of an Officer, his eyes are so blinded therewith that he
     forgets he is a servant to the Commonwealth, and strives to lift up
     himself high above his Bretheren, and oftentimes his fall prove
     very great: witness the fall of oppressing Kings, Bishops and other
     State Officers.

     "_Secondly_,{12} To prevent the creeping of oppression into the
     Commonwealth again. For when Officers grow proud and full, they
     will maintain their greatness, though it be in the poverty, ruin
     and hardship of their Bretheren: Witness the practice of Kings and
     their Laws, that have crushed the Commoners of England a long time.
     And have we not experience in these days that some Officers of the
     Commonwealth have grown so mossy for want of removing that they
     will hardly speak to an old acquaintance, if he be an inferior man,
     though they were very familiar before these wars began? And what
     hath occasioned this distance among friends and bretheren, but long
     continuance in places of honor, greatness and riches?"

     "_Thirdly_, Let Officers be chosen new every year in love to our
     posterity. For if burdens and oppressions should grow up in our
     Laws and in our Officers for want of removing, as moss and weeds
     grow in some land for want of stirring, surely it will be a
     foundation of misery not easily to be removed by our posterity, and
     then will they curse the time when we their forefathers had
     opportunities to set things to rights for their ease, and would not
     do it.

     "_Fourthly_, To remove Officers of State every year will make them
     truly faithful, knowing that others are coming after who will look
     into their ways, and if they do not do things justly, they must be
     ashamed when the next Officers succeed. And when Officers deal
     faithfully with the Government of the Commonwealth, they will not
     be unwilling to remove: the peace of London is much preserved by
     removing their Officers yearly.

     "_Fifthly_, It is good to remove Officers every year, that whereas
     many have their portions to obey, so many may have their turn to
     rule. And this will encourage all men to advance righteousness and
     good manners in hopes of honor; but when money and riches bear all
     the sway in the Rulers' hearts, there is nothing but tyranny in
     such ways.

     "_Sixthly_, The Commonwealth hereby will be furnished with able and
     experienced men, fit to govern, which will mightily advance the
     honor and peace of our Land, occasion the more watchful care in the
     education of children, and in time will make our Commonwealth of
     England the Lily among the Nations of the Earth.


     "All uncivil livers, as drunkards, quarrellers, fearful ignorant
     men, who dare not speak truth less they anger other men; likewise
     all who are wholly given to pleasure and sports, or men who are
     full of talk: all these are empty of substance and cannot be
     experienced men, therefore not fit to be chosen Officers in a
     Commonwealth--yet they may have a voice in the choosing.

     "_Secondly_, All those who are interested in the Monarchial Power
     and Government, ought neither to choose nor to be chosen Officers
     to manage Commonwealth's affairs; for these cannot be friends to
     Common Freedom.... But seeing that few of the Parliament's friends
     understand their Common Freedom, though they own the name
     Commonwealth, therefore the Parliament's Party ought to bear with
     the ignorance of the King's Party, because they are Bretheren, and
     not make them servants, though for the present they be suffered
     neither to choose nor be chosen Officers, lest that ignorant spirit
     of revenge break out in them to interrupt our common peace.

     "Moreover, All those who have been so hasty to buy and sell the
     Commonwealth's Land, and so to entangle it upon a new accompt,
     ought neither to choose nor be chosen Officers. For hereby they
     declare themselves either to be for kingly interest, or else are
     ignorant of Commonwealth's Freedom, or both, therefore unfit to
     make Laws to govern a Free Commonwealth, or to be Overseers to see
     those laws executed. What greater injury could be done to the
     Commoners of England than to sell away their Land so hastily,
     before the people knew where they were, or what Freedom they had
     got by such cost and bloodshed as they were at? And what greater
     ignorance could be declared by Officers than to sell away the
     purchased Land from the purchasers, or from part of them, into the
     hands of particular men to uphold Monarchial Principles?

     "But though this be a fault, let it be borne withal, it was
     ignorance of Bretheren; for England hath lain so long under kingly
     slavery that few knew what Common Freedom was; and let a
     restoration of this redeemed land be speedily made by those who
     have possession of it. For there is neither Reason nor Equity that
     a few men should go away with that Land and Freedom which the whole
     Commoners have paid taxes, free-quarter, and wasted their estates,
     healths and blood, to purchase out of bondage, and many of them are
     in want of a comfortable livelihood.

     "Well, these are the men that take away other men's rights from
     them, and they are members of the covetous generation of
     self-seekers, therefore unfit to be chosen Officers or to choose.


     "Why truly choose such as have a long time given testimony by their
     actions to be promoters of Common Freedom, whether they be Members
     in Church Fellowship, or not in Church Fellowship, for all are one
     in Christ.

     "Choose such as are men of peaceable spirits, and of a peaceable

     "Choose such as have suffered under Kingly Oppression, for they
     will be fellow-feelers of others' bondages.

     "Choose such as have adventured the loss of their estates and lives
     to redeem the Land from bondage, and who have remained constant.

     "Choose men of courage, who are not afraid to speak the truth; for
     this is the shame of many in England at this day, they are drowned
     in the dung-hill mud of slavish fear of men.

     "Choose Officers out of the number of those men that are above
     forty years of age, for these are most likely to be experienced
     men, and to be men of courage, dealing truly and hating


     "And if you choose men thus principled who are poor men, as times
     go, for the Conqueror's Power hath made many a righteous man a
     poor man, then allow them a yearly maintenance from the Common
     Stock, until such time as a Commonwealth's Freedom is established,
     for then there will be no need of such allowances."


     "What is the reason that most men are so ignorant of their
     Freedoms, and so few fit to be chosen Commonwealth's Officers?

     "Because the old Kingly Clergy, that are seated in Parishes for
     lucre of Tythes, are continually distilling their blind principles
     into the people, and do thereby nurse up ignorance to them. For
     they observe the bent of the people's minds, and make sermons to
     please the sickly minds of ignorant people, to preserve their own
     riches and esteem among a charmed, befooled and besotted people."

After this passing shot at his old adversaries, Winstanley proceeds to
consider the Offices and Institutions suitable for his ideal community,
for a Free Commonwealth. He first summarises their function as a whole,
and of the special duty incumbent on all public officials, as follows:

     "All the Offices in a Commonwealth are like links of a chain; they
     arise from one and the same root, which is necessity of Common
     Peace; therefore they are to assist each other, and all others are
     to assist them, as need requires, upon pain of punishment by the
     breach of the Laws. The Rule of Right Government being thus
     observed, may make a whole Land, nay the whole Fabric of the Earth,
     to become one Family of Mankind, and one well-governed


     "A Father is to cherish his children till they grow wise and
     strong; and then as a Master he is to instruct them in reading, in
     learning languages, Arts and Sciences, or to bring them up to
     labor, or employ them in some Trade or other, or cause them to be
     instructed therein, according as is shown hereafter in the
     Education of Mankind. A Father is to have a care that all his
     children do assist to plant the Earth, or by other Trades provide
     necessaries; so he shall see that every one have a comfortable
     livelihood, not respecting one before another. He is to command
     them their work, and see they do it, and not suffer them to live
     idle; he is either to reprove by words, or whip those that offend;
     for the Rod is prepared to bring the unreasonable ones to
     experience and moderation. That so children may not quarrel like
     beasts, but live in Peace, like rational men, experienced in
     yielding obedience to the Law and Officers of the Commonwealth:
     every one doing to another as he would have another do to him."


     "In a Parish or Town may be chosen three, four or six Peacemakers,
     according to the bigness of the place: and their work is twofold.
     _First_, In general to sit in Council to order the affairs of the
     Parish, to prevent troubles, and to preserve common peace.
     _Secondly_, If there arise any matters of offence between man and
     man, the offending parties shall be brought by the Soldiers
     [Policemen] before any one or more of these Peacemakers, who shall
     hear the matter, and endeavour to reconcile the parties and make
     peace, and so put a stop to the rigour of the Law, and go no
     further. But if the Peacemaker cannot persuade or reconcile the
     parties, then he shall command them to appear at the Judges' Court
     at the time appointed to receive the Judgement of the Law.

     "If any matter of public concernment fall out wherein the Peace of
     the City, Town or Country is concerned, then the Peacemakers in
     every town thereabouts shall meet and consult about it; and from
     them, or any six of them, if need require, shall issue forth any
     orders to inferior Officers. But if the matter concern only the
     limits of a Town or City, then the Peacemakers of that Town shall
     from their Court send forth orders to inferior Officers for the
     performing of any public service within their limits.

     "_Thirdly_, If any proof be given that any Officer neglects his
     duty, a Peacemaker is to tell that Officer, between them two, of
     his neglect. If the Officer continue negligent after this reproof,
     the Peacemaker shall acquaint either the County Senate, or the
     National Parliament therewith, that from them the offender may
     receive condign punishment.



Winstanley then details at some length the functions of Overseers, of
which the following will, we think, give our readers sufficient insight:

     "In a Parish or Town there is to be a four-fold degree of
     Overseers, which are to be chosen yearly. The first is an Overseer
     to preserve peace, in case of any quarrels that may fall out
     between man and man.... The second office of Overseer is for
     Trades. This Overseer is to see that young people be put to
     Masters, to be instructed in some labour, trade, service, or to be
     waiters in Storehouses, that none may be idly brought up in any
     family within his circuit.... Truly the Government of the Halls and
     Companies in London is a very rational and well-ordered government;
     and the Overseers for Trades may well be called Masters, Wardens,
     and Assistants of such and such a Company, for such and such a
     particular Trade.... Likewise this Overseer for Trades shall see
     that no man shall be a Housekeeper and have servants under him till
     he hath served under a Master seven years, and hath learned his
     Trade: and the reason is, that every Family may be governed by
     staid and experienced Masters, and not by wanton youth. And this
     Office of Overseer keeps all people within a peaceful harmony of
     Trades, Sciences, or Works, that there be neither Beggar nor Idle
     Person in the Commonwealth.

     "The third Office of Overseership is to see particular Tradesmen
     bring in their work to the Storehouses and Shops, and to see that
     the waiters in Storehouses do their duty.... And if any Keeper of a
     Shop or Storehouse neglect the duty of his place ... the Overseer
     shall admonish him and reprove him. If he amend, all is well; if he
     doth not, the Overseer shall give orders to the Soldiers to carry
     him before the Peacemaker's Court, and if he reform upon the
     reproof of that Court, all is well. But if he doth not reform, he
     shall be sent by the Officers to appear before the Judge's Court,
     and the Judge shall pass sentence--That he shall be put out of that
     House and Employment, and sent among the Husbandmen to work in the
     Earth: and some other shall have his place and house till he be

     "Fourthly, all ancient men, above sixty years of age, are General
     Overseers. And wheresoever they go and see things amiss in any
     Officer or Tradesmen, they shall call any Officer or others to
     account for their neglect of duty to the Commonwealth's Peace; and
     they are called Elders."


     "A Soldier is a Magistrate as well as any other Officer; and indeed
     all State Officers are Soldiers, for they represent power; and if
     there were not power in the hands of Officers, the spirit of
     rudeness would not be obedient to any Law or Government, but their
     own wills. Therefore every year shall be chosen a Soldier, like
     unto a Marshall of a City, and, being the Chief, he shall have
     divers soldiers under him at his command to assist in case of need.
     The work of a Soldier in times of peace is to fetch in Offenders,
     and to bring them before either Officer or Court, and to be a
     protector to the Officers against all disturbances."


     "The Work or Office of a Task-master is to take those into his
     oversight as are sentenced by the Judge to loose their Freedom, to
     appoint them their work, and to see they do it."


     chosen to pronounce the Law is called Judge, because he is the
     mouth of the Law: for no single man ought to judge or to interpret
     the Law. Because the Law itself, as it is left us in the letter, is
     the mind and determination of the Parliament and of the people of
     the Land, to be their Rule to walk by and to be the touch-stone of
     all actions. And the man who takes upon him to interpret the Law,
     doth either darken the sense of the Law, and so make it confused
     and hard to be understood, or else puts another meaning upon it,
     and so lifts up himself above the Parliament, above the Law, and
     above all people in the Land.

     "Therefore the work of that man who is called Judge is to hear any
     matter that is brought before him; and in all cases of difference
     between man and man, he shall see the parties on both sides before
     him, and shall hear each man speak for himself, without a fee'd
     Lawyer; likewise he is to examine any witness who is to prove a
     matter on trial before him. And then he is to pronounce the bare
     letter of the Law concerning such a thing: for he hath his name
     Judge, not because his will or mind is to judge the actions of
     offenders before him, but because he is the mouth to pronounce the
     Law, who, indeed, is the true Judge: Therefore to this Law and to
     this Testimony let everyone have regard who intends to live in
     Peace in the Commonwealth."

Then occurs a passage that shows how carefully Winstanley had watched
the public affairs of his own times, more especially the prolonged
attempt of the late King to govern England under cover of ancient
obsolete Laws interpreted by Judges removable at his will. He continues:

     "For hence hath arisen much misery in the Nations under Kingly
     Government, in that the man called the Judge hath been suffered to
     interpret the Law. And when the mind of the Law, the Judgement of
     the Parliament and the Government of the Land, is resolved into the
     breasts of the Judges, this hath occasioned much complaining of
     Injustice in Judges, in Courts of Justice, in Lawyers, and in the
     course of the Law itself, as if it were an evil Rule. Because the
     Law which was a certain Rule was varied, according to the will of a
     covetous, envious or proud Judge. Therefore no marvel though the
     Kingly Laws be so intricate, and though few know which way the
     course of the Law goes, because the sentence lies many times in the
     breast of a Judge, and not in the letter of the Law. And so the
     good Laws made by an industrious Parliament are like good eggs laid
     by a silly goose, and as soon as she hath laid them, she goes her
     way and lets others take them, and never looks after them more, so
     that if you lay a stone in her nest, she will sit upon it as if it
     were an egg. And so, though the Laws be good, yet if they be left
     to the will of a Judge to interpret, the execution hath many times
     proved bad."


     "In a County or Shire there are to be chosen--A Judge, the
     Peacemakers of every Town within that Circuit, the Overseers, and a
     band of Soldiers attending thereupon: and this is called the
     Judge's Court or the County Senate. The Court shall sit four times
     in the year, or oftener if need be.... If any disorder break in
     among the people, this Court shall set things to right. If any be
     bound over to appear at this Court, the Judge shall hear the
     matter, and pronounce the letter of the Law, according to the
     nature of the offence. So that the alone work of the Judge is to
     pronounce the Sentence and mind of the Law: and all this is but to
     see the Law executed and the Peace of the Commonwealth preserved."


Winstanley then sketches, first in broad outline and then in detail,
what he deemed the work of a Commonwealth's Parliament should be; and
for our own part we know not where to find a higher ideal of the duties
incumbent upon the chosen Representatives of the People: an ideal that
no Parliament to this day has ever attained, and which probably is only
attainable when there shall be a strong body of educated public opinion,
loving Justice and deserving Justice, inspiring and supporting their
endeavours. He commences as follows:

     "A Parliament is the highest Court of Equity in a Land; and it is
     to be chosen every year.... This Court is to oversee all other
     Courts, Officers, persons, and actions, and to have a full power,
     being the Representative of the whole Land, to remove all
     grievances, and to ease the people that are oppressed."


     "A Parliament hath its rise from the lowest Office in a
     Commonwealth, viz., from the Father in a Family. For as a Father's
     tender care is to remove all grievances from the oppressed
     children, not respecting one before another; so a Parliament are to
     remove all burdens from the people of the Land, and are not to
     respect persons who are great before those who are weak; but their
     eye and care must be principally to relieve the oppressed ones, who
     groan under the Tyrant's Laws and Powers: the strong, or such as
     have the Tyrant's Power to support them, need no help.

     "But though a Parliament be the Father of a Land, yet by the
     Covetousness and Cheats of Kingly Government the heart of this
     Father hath been alienated from the children of the Land, or else
     so overawed by the frowns of a Kingly Tyrant, that they could not
     or durst not act for the weaker children's ease. For hath not
     Parliament sat and rose again, and made Laws to strengthen the
     Tyrant in his Throne, and to strengthen the rich and the strong by
     those Laws, and left Oppression upon the backs of the oppressed


Here Winstanley checks himself, and continues:

     "But I'll not reap up former weaknesses, but rather rejoice in hope
     of amendment, seeing our present Parliament hath declared England
     to be a Free Commonwealth, and to cast out Kingly Power: and upon
     this ground I rejoice in hope that succeeding Parliaments will be
     tender-hearted Fathers to the oppressed children of the Land. And
     not only dandle us upon the knee with good words and promises till
     particular men's turn be served, but will feed our bellies and
     clothe our backs with good actions of Freedom, and give to the
     oppressed children's children their birthright portion, which is
     Freedom in the Commonwealth's Land, which the Kingly Law and Power,
     our cruel step-fathers and step-mothers, have kept from us and our
     fathers for many years past.


     "As a tender Father, a Parliament is to empower Officers and give
     orders for the free planting and reaping of the Commonwealth's
     Land, that all who have been oppressed, and kept back from the free
     use thereof by Conquerors, Kings, and their Tyrant Laws, may now be
     set at liberty to plant in Freedom for food and raiment, and are to
     be a protection to them who labor the Earth, and a punisher of them
     who are idle.

     "But some may say, What is that I call Commonwealth's Land? I
     answer, All that land which hath been withheld from the inhabitants
     by the Conqueror, or Tyrant Kings, and is now recovered out of the
     hands of that oppression by the joint assistance of the persons and
     purses of the Commoners of the Land. For this Land is the price of
     their blood. It is their birthright to them and to their posterity,
     and ought not to be converted into particular hands again by the
     Laws of a Free Commonwealth. In particular, this Land is all Abbey
     Lands, formerly recovered out of the Pope's Power by the blood of
     the Commoners of England, though the Kings withheld their rights
     therein from them. So likewise all Crown Lands, Bishops' Lands,
     with all Parks, Forests, Chases, now of late recovered out of the
     hand of the Kingly Tyrants, who have set Lords of Manors and
     Taskmasters over the Commoners, to withhold the free use of the
     land from them. So likewise all the Commons and Waste Lands, which
     are called Commons because the Poor was to have part therein. But
     this is withheld from the Commoners, either by Lords of Manors
     requiring quit-rents, and overseeing the poor so narrowly that none
     dares build him a house upon this Common Land, or plant thereupon,
     without his leave, but must pay him rents, fines, and heriots, and
     homage as unto a Conqueror. Or else the benefit of this Common Land
     is taken away from the Younger Bretheren by the rich Land Lords and
     Freeholders, who overstock the Commons with sheep and cattle, so
     that the Poor in many places are not able to keep a Cow unless they
     steal grass for her.

     "And this is the bondage the Poor complain of, that they are kept
     poor in a Land where there is so much plenty for everyone, if
     Covetousness and Pride did not rule as King in one Brother over
     another: and Kingly Government occasions all this. Now it is the
     work of a Parliament to break the Tyrant's bands, to abolish all
     their oppressing Laws, and to give orders, encouragements and
     directions unto the poor oppressed people of the Land, that they
     forthwith plant and manure this their own Land, for the free and
     comfortable livelihood of themselves and posterities. And to
     declare to them, it is their own Creation-Rights, faithfully and
     courageously recovered by their diligence, purses and blood from
     under the Kingly Tyrant's and Oppressor's Power.


     "Is to abolish all old Laws and Customs which have been the
     strength of the Oppressor, and to prepare and then to enact new
     Laws for the ease and freedom of the people, but yet not without
     the people's knowledge.[197:1]

     "For the work of a Parliament herein is three-fold:

     "_First_, When old Laws and Customs of the Kings do burden the
     people, and the people desire the remove of them, and the
     establishment of more easy Laws: it is now the work of a Parliament
     to search into Reason and Equity, how relief may be found for the
     people in such a case, and to preserve a Common Peace. And when
     they have found a way by debate of counsel among themselves,
     whereby the people may be relieved, they are not presently to
     establish their conclusions for a Law. But in the next place they
     are to make a public declaration thereof to the people of the Land,
     who choose them, for their approbation. And if no objection come in
     from the people within one month, they may then take the people's
     silence as a consent thereto. And then, in the third place, they
     are to enact it for a Law, to be a binding rule to the whole Land.
     For as the remove of the old Laws and Customs is by the people's
     consent, which is proved by their frequent petitionings and
     requests; so the enacting of new Laws must be by the people's
     consent and knowledge likewise. And here they are to require the
     consent, not of men interested in the old oppressing Laws and
     Customs,[197:2] as Kings used to do, but of them who have been
     oppressed. And the reason is this: Because the people must be all
     subject to the Law, under pain of punishment, therefore it is all
     reason that they should know it before it be enacted, so that if
     there be anything of the Counsel of Oppression in it, it may be
     discovered and amended."


     "But you will say, If it must be so, then will men so differ in
     their judgements that we shall never agree.

     "I answer: There is but Bondage and Freedom, _particular_ Interest
     or _common_ Interest; and he who pleads to bring in particular
     interest into a Free Commonwealth, will presently be seen and cast
     out, as one bringing in Kingly Slavery again.

     "Moreover, men in place and office, where greatness and honor is
     coming in, may sooner be corrupted to bring in particular interest
     than a whole Land can be, who must either suffer sorrow under a
     burdensome Law, or rejoice under a Law of Freedom. And surely those
     men who are not willing to enslave the people will be unwilling to
     consent hereunto.


     "Is to see all those burdens removed actually, which have hindered
     or do hinder the oppressed People from the enjoyment of their

     "If their Common Lands be under the oppression of Lords of Manors,
     they are to see the Land freed from that slavery.

     "If the Commonwealth Land be sold by the hasty counsel of subtle,
     covetous and ignorant Officers, who act for their own particular
     interest, and so hath entangled the Commoners' Land again, under
     colour of being bought and sold: then a Parliament is to examine
     what authority any had to sell or buy the Commonwealth's Land
     without a general consent of the People: FOR IT IS NOT ANY ONE'S,
     BUT EVERY ONE'S BIRTH-RIGHT. And if some through covetousness and
     self-interest gave consent privately, yet a Parliament, who is the
     Father of the Land, ought not to give consent to buy and sell that
     Land which is all the children's birth-right, and the price of
     their labors, moneys and blood.

     "They are to declare likewise that the Bargain is unrighteous; and
     that the Buyers and Sellers are Enemies to the Peace and Freedom of
     the Commonwealth. For indeed the necessity of the People chose a
     Parliament to help them in their weakness. Hence when they see a
     danger like to impoverish or enslave one part of the people to
     another, they are to give warning and so prevent that danger. For
     they are the Eyes of the Land: and surely those are blind eyes that
     lead the People into Bogs to be entangled in Mud again, after they
     are once pulled out. =And when the Land is once freed from the
     Oppressor's Power and Laws, the Parliament is to keep it so, and
     not suffer it by their consent to have it bought or sold, and so
     entangled in Bondage upon a new account.=

     "For their faithfulness herein to the People, the People are
     engaged in love and faithfulness to cleave close to them in defence
     and protection. But when a Parliament have no care herein, the
     hearts of the People run away from them like sheep who have no


     "All grievances are occasioned either by the covetous wills of
     State Officers, who neglect their obedience to the good Laws, and
     then prefer their own ease, honor, and riches before the ease and
     freedom of the oppressed people. A Parliament is to cashier and
     punish those Officers, and place others who are men of public
     spirit in their rooms.

     "Or else the People's grievances arise from the practice and power
     that the King's Laws have given to Lords of Manors, covetous
     Landlords, Tythe Takers, or unbounded Lawyers, being all
     strengthened in their oppressions over the people by that Kingly
     Law. And when the People are burthened herewith, and groan waiting
     for deliverance, as the oppressed People of England do at this day,
     it is then the work of a Parliament to see the People delivered,
     and that they enjoy their Creation's Freedom in the Earth. They are
     not to dally with them, but as a father is ready to help his
     children out of misery when they either see them in misery, or when
     the children cry for help, so should they do for the oppressed

     "And surely for this end, and no other, is the Parliament chosen.
     =For the necessity for Common Preservation and Peace is the
     Fundamental Law both to Officers and People.=


     "Is this: If there be occasion to raise an Army to wage war, either
     against an Invasion of a Foreign Enemy, or against an Insurrection
     at home, it is the work of a Parliament to manage that business for
     to preserve Common Peace.

     "And here their work is three-fold:

     "_First_, To acquaint the People plainly with the cause of the
     War, and to show them the danger of such an Invasion or
     Insurrection. And so from that cause require their assistance in
     person, for the preservation of the Laws, Liberties and Peace of
     the Commonwealth, according to their engagement when they were
     chosen, which was this: _Do you protect our Laws and Liberties, and
     we will protect and assist you._

     "_Secondly_, A Parliament is to make choice of understanding, able
     and public-spirited men to be Leaders of an Army in this case, and
     to give them Commissions and Power, in the name of the
     Commonwealth, to manage the work of an Army.

     "_Thirdly_, A Parliament's work in this case is either to send
     Ambassadors to another Nation which has invaded our Land, or that
     intends to invade, to agree upon terms of peace, or to proclaim
     war; or else to receive and hear Ambassadors from other Lands for
     the same business, or about any other business concerning the peace
     and honor of the Land.

     "For a Parliament is the Head of a Commonwealth's Power; or, as it
     may be said, it is the great Council of an Army, from whom
     originally all Orders do issue forth to any Officer or Soldier. For
     if so be a Parliament had not an Army to protect them, the rudeness
     of the people would not obey their proceedings; and if a Parliament
     were not the representative of the People, who indeed is the body
     of all power, the Army would not obey their orders.

     "So then a Parliament is the Head of Power in a Commonwealth. It is
     their work to manage public affairs in times of War and in times of
     Peace; not to promote the interests of particular men, but for the
     Peace and Freedom of the whole Body of the Land, viz., of every
     particular man, that none be deprived of his Creation Eights,
     unless he hath lost his Freedom by transgression, as by the Laws is

With this admirable summary of the functions of a Parliament, our
author brings his consideration of their work to a conclusion, and
somewhat later proceeds to consider the source and function of a true
Commonwealth's Army, which he evidently regards as a necessary evil,
capable of much harm as well as of some good. He says:


     "After that the necessity of a People in a Parish, in a County and
     in a Land, hath moved the People to choose Officers to preserve
     common peace, the same necessity causeth the People to say to their
     Officers--_Do you see our Laws observed for our common
     preservation, and we will assist and protect you._

     "These words, _assist_ and _protect_, implies the rising of the
     People by force of arms to defend their Laws and Officers, who rule
     well, against any invasion, insurrection or rebellion of selfish
     Officers or rude people: yea, to beat down the turbulency of any
     foolish spirit that shall arise to break our common peace. So that
     the same Law of Necessity of Common Peace, which moved the People
     to choose Officers, and to compose a Law to be a Rule of
     Government: the same Law of Necessity of Protection doth raise an
     Army. So that an Army, as well as other Officers in a Commonwealth,
     spring from one and the same root, viz., from the necessity of
     Common Preservation."


     "A Ruling Army is called Magistracy in times of Peace, keeping that
     Land and Government in Peace by Execution of the Laws, which the
     Fighting Army did purchase in the field by their blood out of the
     hands of Oppression. All Officers, from the Father in a Family to
     the Parliament in a Land, are but the heads and leaders of an Army;
     and all people arising to protect and assist their Officers, in
     defence of a right-ordered Government, are but the body of an Army.
     And this Magistracy is called the Rejoicing of all Nations, when
     the foundations thereof are Laws of Common Equity, whereby every
     single man may enjoy the fruits of his labor, in the free use of
     the Earth, without being restrained or oppressed by the hands of

     "Secondly, A Fighting Army, called Soldiers in the Field, when the
     necessity of preservation, by reason of a foreign invasion, or
     inbred Oppression, doth move the people to arise in an Army to cut
     and tear to pieces either degenerate Officers, or rude people, who
     seek their own interests, and not Common Freedom, and through
     treachery do endeavour to destroy the Laws of Common Freedom, and
     to enslave both the Land and the People of the Commonwealth to
     their particular wills and lusts.... The use or work of a Fighting
     Army in a Commonwealth is to beat down all who arise to endeavour
     to destroy the Liberties of the Commonwealth. For as in the days of
     the Monarchy an Army was used to subdue all who rebelled against
     Kingly Propriety, so in the days of a Free Commonwealth, an Army is
     to be made use of to resist or destroy all who endeavour to keep up
     or bring in Kingly Bondage again.... Therefore, you Army of
     England's Commonwealth, look to it. The Enemy could not beat you in
     the field, but they may be too hard for you by Policy in Counsel,
     if you do not stick close to see Common Freedom established. For if
     so be that Kingly Authority is set up in your Laws again, King
     Charles has conquered you and your posterity by policy, though you
     seemingly have cut off his head. For the Strength of a King lies
     not in the visible Appearance of his Body, but in his Will, Laws,
     and Authority, which is called Monarchial Government. But if you
     remove Kingly Government, and set up true and free Commonwealth's
     Government, then you gain your Crown and keep it, and leave peace
     to your posterity: otherwise not. And thus doing makes a War either
     lawful or unlawful."

Then follows this bold, manly challenge of the conduct of the Grandees
of the Army:


     "If an Army be raised to cast out Kingly Oppression, and if the
     Heads of that Army promise a Commonwealth's Freedom to the
     oppressed people, in case they will assist in person and purse, and
     if the people do assist and prevail over the Tyrant, those Officers
     are bound by the Law of Justice (who is God) to make good their
     engagements. And if they do not set the Land free from the
     branches of the Kingly Oppression, but reserve some part of the
     Kingly Power to advance their own particular interest, whereby some
     of their friends are left under as great slavery to them as they
     were under the Kings, those Officers are not faithful
     Commonwealth's Soldiers, they are worse Thieves and Tyrants than
     the Kings they cast out, and that Honor they seemed to get by their
     Victories over the Commonwealth's Oppressor, they lose again by
     breaking Promise and Engagement to their oppressed friends who did
     assist them.

     "For what difference is there between a professed Tyrant, who
     declares himself a Tyrant in words, laws and deeds, as all
     Conquerors do, and him who promises to free me from the power of
     the Tyrant if I'll assist him; and when I have spent my estate and
     blood, and the health of my body, and expect my bargain by his
     engagements to me, he sits himself down in the Tyrant's Chair, and
     takes the possession of the Land to himself, and calls it his and
     none of mine, and tells me he cannot in conscience let me enjoy the
     Freedom of the Earth with him, because it is another man's right."


     "And now my health and estate is decayed and I grow in age, I must
     either beg or work for day-wages, which I was never brought up to,
     for another; when the Earth is as freely my Inheritance and
     Birth-Right as his whom I must work for. And if I cannot live by my
     weak labors, but take where I need, as Christ sent and took the
     Asses Colt in his need, there is no dispute, but by the Kings and
     Laws, he will hang me for a thief."


     "A Monarchial Army lifts up mountains and makes valleys, viz.,
     advances Tyrants and treads the oppressed in the barren lanes of
     poverty. But a Commonwealth's Army is like John the Baptist, who
     levels the Mountains to the Valleys, pulls down the Tyrant, and
     lifts up the Oppressed: and so makes way for the Spirit of Peace
     and Freedom to come in to rule and inherit the Earth.

     "By this which has been spoken an Army may see wherein they may do
     well and wherein they may do hurt."


Under this heading Winstanley describes an office by which he evidently
thought the social bonds uniting the whole Nation might be strengthened
and all parts thereof be brought into closer and more intimate relations
one with the other. He describes its functions as follows:

     "In every Parish throughout the Commonwealth shall be chosen two
     men (at the time when the other Officers are chosen), and these
     shall be called Post-Masters. And whereas there are four parts of
     the Land, East, West, North, South, there shall be chosen in the
     chief City two men to receive what the Post-Master of the East
     Country brings in"; and so on. "Now the work of a Country
     Post-master shall be this: They shall every month bring up or send
     by tidings from their respective Parishes to the chief City, of
     what accidents or passages fall out, which is either to the honor
     or dishonor, hurt or profit, of the Commonwealth. And if nothing
     have fallen out in that month worth observation, then they shall
     write down peace or good order in such a Parish.

     "When these respective Post-masters have brought up their Bills or
     Certificates from all parts of the Land, the Receiver of these
     Bills shall write down everything in order from Parish to Parish in
     the nature of a Weekly Bill of Observation. And those eight
     Receivers shall cause the Affairs of the Four Quarters of the Land
     to be printed in one Book with what speed may be, and deliver to
     every Post-master a Book, that as they bring up the affairs of one
     Parish in writing, they may carry down in print the Affairs of the
     Whole Land."


     "The benefit lies here, that if any part of the Land be visited
     with Plague, Famine, Invasion or Insurrection, or any casualties,
     the other parts of the Land may have speedy knowledge, and send
     relief. And if any accident fall out through unreasonable action,
     or careless neglect, other parts of the Land may thereby be made
     watchful to prevent like dangers. Or if any through industry or
     through ripeness of understanding have found out any secret in
     Nature, or new invention in any Art or Trade, or in the tillage of
     the Earth, or such like, whereby the Commonwealth may more
     flourish in peace and plenty, for which virtues those persons
     received honor in the places where they dwelt; then, when other
     parts of the Land hear of it, many thereby will be encouraged to
     employ their Reason and Industry to do the like; that so in time
     there will not be any Secret in Nature, which now lies hid (by
     reason of the iron age of Kingly Oppressing Government) but by some
     or other will be brought to light, to the beauty of our

With this suggestive passage this chapter may fittingly close. Like his
great successor in the Nineteenth Century, Winstanley evidently realised
that "Liberty means Justice, and Justice is the Natural Law--the law of
health and symmetry and strength, of fraternity and co-operation."


[197:1] Law Reform was at that time very popular, and undoubtedly much
needed. The month previous to the publication of the book we are now
considering, in January 1652, a Law Reform Commission consisting of
twenty-one members had been appointed. It evidently went to work in a
very thorough manner. For, according to a modern Lawyer, Mr. Inderwick
(see his book _The Interregnum_, referred to by Gardiner), it appears
that of eight draft Acts proposed on March 23rd, 1652, one became Law in
1833, one in 1846, and a third in 1885.

[197:2] "Things of this world," says Locke (_Of Civil Government_, part
ii. chap. xiii. § 157), "are in so constant a flux, that nothing remains
long in the same state.... But ... private interest often keeps up
customs and privileges when the reasons of them are ceased."

[200:1] In his great work _Of Civil Government_, John Locke takes
practically the same view as Winstanley of the duties of Parliaments and
of the function of Law. In chapter ix. (part ii.) he says: "The
legislative or supreme power of any Commonwealth, is bound to govern by
established _standing laws_, promulgated and known to the people, and
not by extemporary decrees; by indifferent [impartial] and upright
judges, who are to decide controversies by those laws; and to employ the
force of the community at home, _only in the execution of such laws_, or
abroad, to prevent or redress foreign injuries, and secure the community
from inroads and invasion. _And all this to be directed to no other end,
but the peace, safety, and public good of the people._" Italics are



THE LAW OF FREEDOM (_concluded_)

        "Day unto day utters speech--
        Be wise, O ye Nations! and hear
        What yesterday telleth to-day,
        What to-day to the morrow will preach.
        A change cometh over our sphere,
        And the old goeth down to decay.
    A new light hath dawned on the darkness of yore,
    And men shall be slaves and oppressors no more."
                                            CHARLES MACKAY.

It is in the chapter we have just been considering, the fourth chapter
of "The Law of Freedom," that we find Winstanley's last recorded
utterances on cosmological and theological problems. Nothing seems to us
more strikingly to show the broadening and development of his powerful
mind than a comparison of the views here expressed with those contained
in his earlier writings on the subject. True, the underlying ideas are
practically the same: he still realises the existence of a Divine
Spirit, the Spirit of Reason and of Love, of Righteousness and of Peace,
animating, inspiring, pervading and governing the whole Creation; he
still holds to his doctrine of the Inward Light, the spark of the Divine
Spirit of Reason, within man, prompting each and all to act righteously
and equitably one toward the other. Yet he is decidedly less mystical.
He lays emphasis on the necessity to study the works of God rather than
the Word of God; and has evidently become less anthropomorphic and more
spiritual, less mystical and more rational, less religious and more
ethical, less theological and more philosophic, less scholastic and more
scientific. However, we had better let him speak for himself.
Immediately after his reflections on the duties and functions of a
Commonwealth's Parliament, he proceeds to consider the work of a
Commonwealth's Ministry, as follows:


     "If there were good Laws and the People be ignorant of them, it
     would be as bad for the Commonwealth as if there were no Laws at
     all. Therefore it is very rational and good that one day in seven
     be still set apart, for three reasons:

     "_First_, That the People in such a Parish may generally meet
     together to see one another's faces, and beget or preserve
     fellowship in friendly love.

     "_Secondly_, To be a day of rest, or cessation from labor; so that
     they may have some bodily rest for themselves and cattle.

     "_Thirdly_, That he who is chosen Minister (for that year) in that
     Parish may read to the People three things. First, the affairs of
     the whole Land, as it is brought in by the Post-Master. Secondly,
     to read the Law of the Common-wealth, not only to strengthen the
     memory of the ancients, but that the young people also, who are not
     grown up to ripeness of experience, may be instructed to know when
     they do well and when they do ill. For the Law of a Land hath the
     power of Freedom and Bondage, life and death, in its hand,
     therefore the necessary knowledge to be known; and he is the best
     Prophet that acquaints men therewith, that as men grow up in years
     they may be able to defend the Laws and Government of the Land. But
     these Laws shall not be expounded by the Reader; for to expound a
     plain Law, as if a man would put a better meaning than the letter
     itself, produces two evils: First, the pure Law and the minds of
     the people will be thereby confounded, for multitude of words
     darken knowledge. Secondly, the reader will be puffed up in pride
     to contemn the Law-makers, and in time that will prove the father
     and nurse of tyranny, as at this day is manifested by our


     "But because the minds of people generally love discourses,
     therefore, that the wits of men, both old and young, may be
     exercised, there may be speeches made in a threefold nature:

     "_First_, To declare the acts and passages of former ages and
     governments, setting forth the benefit of freedom by well-ordered
     Governments, as in Israel's Commonwealth, and the troubles and
     bondage which hath always attended oppression and oppressors, as
     the State of Pharaoh and other tyrant kings, who said the Earth and
     People were theirs, and only at their disposal.

     "_Secondly_, Speeches may be made of all Arts and Sciences, some
     one day some another, as in Physics, Chyrurgery, Astrology,
     Astronomy, Navigation, Husbandry, and such like. And in these
     speeches may be unfolded the nature of all herbs and plants, from
     the Hysop to the Cedar, as Solomon writ of. Likewise men may come
     to see into the nature of the fixed and wandering Stars, those
     great powers of God in the heavens above. And hereby men will come
     to know the secrets of Nature and Creation, within which all true
     knowledge is wrapped up, and the light in man must arise to search
     it out.

     "_Thirdly_, Speeches may be made sometimes of the nature of
     mankind, of his darkness and of his light, of his weakness and of
     his strength, of his love and of his envy, of his inward and
     outward bondages, of his inward and outward freedoms, etc. And this
     is that at which the ministry of Churches generally aim; but only
     that they confound their knowledge by imaginary study.... And thus
     to speak, or thus to read the Law of Nature (or God) as He hath
     written His name in every body, is to speak a pure language, and
     this is to speak the truth as Jesus Christ spake it, giving to
     everything its own weight and measure. By this means in time men
     shall attain to the practical knowledge of God truly, that they may
     serve Him in spirit and in truth: and this knowledge will not
     deceive a man."


Then follows a passage which even to-day would bring down the wrath of
"zealous but ignorant professors" upon the head of any author
acknowledging it, if within their sphere of influence. He continues:

     "'I,' but saith the zealous but ignorant Professor, 'this is a low
     and carnal Ministry indeed; this leads men to know nothing but the
     knowledge of the earth and the secrets of nature; but we are to
     look after spiritual and heavenly things.'

     "I answer: 'To know the secrets of nature is to know the works of
     God; and to know the works of God within the Creation, is to know
     God himself; for God dwells in every visible work or body. Indeed,
     if you would know spiritual things, it is to know how the Spirit or
     Power of Wisdom and Life, causing motion or growth, dwells within
     and governs both the several bodies of the stars and planets in the
     heavens above, and the several bodies of the earth below, as grass,
     plants, fishes, beasts, birds and mankind. For to reach God beyond
     the Creation, or to know what he will be to a man after the man is
     dead, if any otherwise than to scatter him into his essences of
     fire, water, earth and air, of which he is composed, is a knowledge
     beyond the line or capacity of man to attain to while he lives in
     his compounded body. And if a man should go to imagine what God is
     beyond the Creation, or what he will be in a spiritual
     demonstration after a man is dead, he doth, as the proverb saith,
     but build castles in the air, or tells us of a world beyond the
     Moon or beyond the Sun, merely to blind the reason of man.

     "'I'll appeal to yourself in this question, What other knowledge
     have you of God but what you have within the circle of the
     Creation? For if the Creation in all its dimensions be the fullness
     of Him that fills all with Himself; and if you yourself be part of
     this Creation: where can you find God but in that line or station
     wherein you stand? God manifests Himself in actual Knowledge, not
     in Imagination. He is still in motion, either in bodies upon earth
     or in the bodies in the heavens, or in both; in the night and in
     the day, in Winter, in Summer, in cold, in heat, in growth or not
     in growth.'"


     "But when a studying imagination comes into man, which is the
     devil, for it is the cause of all evil and sorrows in the world;
     that is he who puts out the eyes of man's knowledge, and tells him
     he must believe what others have writ or spoke, and must not trust
     to his own experience. And when this bewitching fancy sits in the
     Chair of Government, there is nothing but saying and unsaying,
     frowardness, covetousness, fears, confused thoughts, and
     unsatisfied doubtings, all the days of that man's reign in the


     "Or, secondly, examine yourself and look likewise into the ways of
     all Professors, and you shall find that the enjoyment of the earth
     below, which you call a low and a carnal knowledge, is that which
     you and all Professors (as well as the men of the world, as you
     call them) strive and seek after. Wherefore are you so covetous
     after the world, in buying and selling, counting yourself a happy
     man if you be rich, and a miserable man if you be poor? And though
     you say, _Heaven after death is a place of glory where you shall
     enjoy God face to face_, yet you are loth to leave the earth and go

     "Do not your Ministers preach for to enjoy the earth? Do not
     professing Lawyers, as well as others, buy and sell the Conquerer's
     justice that they may enjoy the earth? Do not professing Soldiers
     fight for the earth, and seat themselves in that Land which is the
     birth-right of others, as well as theirs, shutting others out? Do
     not all Professors strive to get earth, that they may live in
     plenty by other men's labors? Do you not make the earth your very
     rest? Doth not the enjoying of the earth please the spirit in you?
     and then you say God is pleased with your ways and blesseth you. If
     you want earth, and become poor, do you not say, God is angry with
     you? Why do you heap up riches? why do you eat and drink, and wear
     clothes? Are not all these carnal and low things of the earth? and
     do you not live in them and covet them as much as any, nay more
     than many which you call men of the world?

     "It being thus with you, what other spiritual and heavenly things
     do you seek after more than others? What is in you more than in
     others? If you say there is, then surely you should leave these
     earthly things alone to the men of the world, as you call them,
     whose portions these are, and keep you within the compass of your
     own sphere, that others seeing you live a life above the world in
     peace and freedom, neither working yourselves, nor deceiving, nor
     compelling others to work for you, they may be drawn to embrace the
     same spiritual life by your single hearted conversation. Well I
     have done here."


Winstanley then carries the war into the camp of his clerical opponents,
and that in so forcible a manner that we cannot refrain from quoting at
length. He says:

     "Let us now examine your Divinity, which you call heavenly and
     spiritual things; for herein speeches are made, not to advance
     knowledge, but to destroy the true knowledge of God. For Divinity
     does not speak the truth, as it is hid in everybody, but it leaves
     the motional knowledge of a thing as it is, and imagines, studies
     or thinks what may be, and so runs the hazard of true or false.
     This Divinity is always speaking words to deceive the simple, that
     he may make them work for him and maintain him, but he never comes
     to action himself, to do as he would be done by; for he is a
     monster who is all tongue and no hand.

     "This Divining Doctrine, which you call spiritual and heavenly
     things, is the thief and the robber, he comes to spoil the Vineyard
     of a man's peace, and does not enter in at the door, but he climbs
     up another way. And this Doctrine is two-fold: First, it takes upon
     him to tell you the meaning of other men's words and writings, by
     his studying or imagining what another man's knowledge might be,
     and by thus doing darkens knowledge, and wrongs the spirit of the
     Authors who did write and speak those things which he takes upon
     him to interpret. Secondly, he takes upon him to foretell what
     shall befall a man after he is dead, and what that world is beyond
     the Sun and beyond the Moon, etc. And if any man tell him there is
     no reason for what you say, he answers, you must not judge of
     heavenly and spiritual things by reason, but you must believe what
     is told you, whether it be reason or no."


     "There is a three-fold discovery of falsehood in this Doctrine.
     First, it is a Doctrine of a sickly and weak spirit, who hath lost
     his understanding in the knowledge of the Creation, and of the
     temper of his own heart and nature, and so runs into fancies,
     either of joy or sorrow. If the passion of joy predominate, then he
     fancies to himself a personal God, personal Angels, and a local
     place of glory, which he saith, he, and all who believe what he
     hath, shall go to after they are dead. If sorrow predominate, then
     he fancies to himself a personal Devil, and a local place of
     torment that he shall go to after he is dead: and this he speaks
     with great confidence.

     "_Secondly_, This is the doctrine of a subtle running spirit, to
     make an ungrounded wise man mad.... For many times when a wise
     understanding heart is assaulted with this Doctrine of a God, a
     Devil, a Heaven and a Hell, Salvation and Damnation after a man is
     dead, his spirit being not strongly grounded in the knowledge of
     the Creation nor in the temper of his own heart, he strives and
     stretches his brain to find out the depth of that doctrine and
     cannot attain to it. For, indeed, it is not knowledge, but
     imagination. And so by poring and puzzling himself in it, he loses
     that wisdom he had, and becomes distracted and mad. If the passion
     of joy predominate, then he is merry, and sings, and laughs, and is
     ripe in the expression of his words and will speak strange things:
     but all by imagination. But if the passion of sorrow predominate,
     then he is heavy and sad, crying out, _He is damned; God hath
     forsaken him, and he must go to Hell when he dies; he cannot make
     his calling and election sure._ And in that distemper many times a
     man doth hang, kill or drown himself. So this Divining Doctrine,
     which you call spiritual and heavenly things, torments people
     always when they are weak, sickly or under any distemper. Therefore
     it cannot be the Doctrine of Christ the Saviour.

     "Or, _thirdly_, This Doctrine is made a cloak of policy by the
     subtle Elder Brother, to cheat his simpler Younger Brother of the
     Freedoms of the Earth. For, saith the Elder Brother, 'The Earth is
     mine, and not yours, Brother; and you must not work upon it, unless
     you will hire it of me; and you must not take the fruits of it,
     unless you will buy them of me, by that which I pay you for your
     labor. For if you should do otherwise, God will not love you, and
     you shall not go to Heaven when you die, but the Devil will have
     you, and you must be damned in Hell.'

     "If the Younger reply, and say--'The Earth is my Birth-Right as
     well as yours, and God who made us both is no Respecter of persons.
     Therefore there is no reason but I should enjoy the Freedoms of the
     Earth for my comfortable livelihood, as well as you, Brother.'

     "'I,' but saith the Elder Brother, 'You must not trust to your own
     Reason and Understanding, but you must believe what is written and
     what is told you; and if you will not believe, your Damnation will
     be the greater.'

     "'I cannot believe,' saith the Younger Brother, 'that our Righteous
     Creator should be so partial in his Dispensations of the Earth,
     seeing our bodies cannot live upon Earth without the use of the

     "The Elder Brother replies, 'What, will you be an Atheist, and a
     factious man, will you not believe God?'

     "'Yes,' saith the Younger Brother, 'if I knew God said so, I should
     believe, for I desire to serve Him.'

     "'Why,' saith the Elder Brother, 'this is His Word, and if you will
     not believe it, you must be damned; but if you will believe it, you
     will go to Heaven.'

     "Well, the Younger Brother, being weak in spirit, and not having a
     grounded knowledge of the Creation, nor of himself, is terrified,
     and lets go his hold in the Earth, and submits himself to be a
     Slave to his Brother, for fear of damnation in Hell after death,
     and in hopes to get Heaven thereby after he is dead. And so his
     eyes are put out, and his Reason is blinded. So that this divining
     spiritual doctrine is a cheat. For while men are gazing up to
     Heaven, imagining after a happiness, or fearing a Hell after they
     are dead, their eyes are put out, that they see not what are their
     Birth-Rights, nor what is to be done by them here on Earth while
     they are living. This is the filthy Dreamer and the Cloud without
     rain. And indeed the subtle Clergy do know that if they can but
     charm the people by this their divining doctrine, to look after
     riches, Heaven and Glory when they are dead, that then they shall
     easily be the inheritors of the Earth, and have the deceived people
     to be their Servants.

     "For my own part," he continues, "my spirit hath waded deep to find
     the bottom of this divining spiritual Doctrine; and the more I
     searched, the more I was at a loss. I never came to quiet rest and
     to know God in my spirit, till I came to the knowledge of the
     things in this Book. And let me tell you, They who preach this
     divining doctrine are the murderers of many a poor heart, who is
     bashful and simple, and who cannot speak for himself, but who keeps
     his thoughts to himself."

Such, then, was Winstanley's final attack on the body of teachings he,
rightly or wrongly, hated and despised as the main supporter of the
prevailing social injustice. Correct thought he realised to be the
necessary precursor of right action; and he knew that correct thought is
impossible so long as old, inherited false ideas are unquestioningly
accepted and hold undisputed dominion over the human mind. Winstanley
seems to us to have realised that it was the ignorance of the many that,
in truth, maintained the privileges of the few; that the masses
themselves forge the fetters for their own enslavement, which, though
apparently as strong as iron bands, are, in truth, but things of
gossamer, easily to be broken by those who themselves have forged and
who themselves still maintain them.

In the next chapter (chap. v.) Winstanley briefly summarises his views
on education, and outlines the means by which he deemed both the
production and the distribution of wealth could be carried on without
having recourse to "the thieving art of buying and selling." It
commences as follows:


     "Mankind in the days of his youth is like a young colt, wanton and
     foolish, till he be broken in by education and correction; the
     neglect of this care, or the want of wisdom in the performance of
     it, hath been and is the cause of much division and trouble in the
     world. Therefore the Law of a Common-wealth doth require that not
     only a Father, but that all Overseers and Officers should make it
     their work to educate children in good manners, and to see them
     brought up in some trade or other, and to suffer no children in any
     Parish to live in idleness and youthful pleasures all their days,
     as many have been; but that they may be brought up like men and not
     like beasts. That so the Commonwealth may be planted with laborious
     and wise experienced men, and not with idle fools."

He continues his reflections as follows:

     "Mankind may be considered in a four-fold degree, his childhood,
     youth, manhood, and old age. His childhood and his youth may be
     considered from his birth till forty years of age. Within this
     compass of time, after he is weaned from his mother, his parents
     shall teach him a civil and humble behaviour towards all men. Then
     send him to school, to learn to read the Laws of the Common-wealth,
     to ripen his wits from his childhood, and so to proceed with his
     learning till he be acquainted with all Arts and Languages.... But
     one sort of children shall not be trained up only to book-learning,
     and to no other employment, called Scholars, as they are in the
     Government of Monarchy. For then through idleness they spend their
     time to find out policies to advance themselves to be Lords and
     Masters over their laboring bretheren, which occasions all the
     trouble in the world."

After again indicating the source of all real knowledge, he continues:

     "Therefore, to prevent idleness and the danger of Machivilian
     cheats, it is profitable for the Commonwealth that children be
     trained up in trades and some bodily employment, as well as in
     learning languages or the histories of former ages. And as boys are
     trained up in learning and in trades, so all maids shall be trained
     up in reading, sewing, kniting, spinning of linnen and woollen,
     music, and all other easy neat works, either for to furnish
     Storehouses with linnen and wooll cloth, or for the ornament of
     particular houses with needlework. If this course were taken, there
     would be no idle person or beggar in the Land, and much work would
     be done by that now lazy generation for the enlarging of the Common


     "In the managing of any trade let no young wit be crushed in his
     invention. If any man desire to make a new trial of his skill in
     any trade or science, the Overseer shall not injure him but
     encourage him therein; that so the Spirit of Knowledge may have his
     full growth in man, to find out the secrets in every art. And let
     everyone who finds out a new invention have a deserved honor given
     him; and certainly when men are sure of food and raiment, their
     reason will be ripe and ready to dive into the secrets of the
     Creation, that they may learn to see and know God (the Spirit of
     the whole Creation) in all his works. For fear of want and care to
     pay Rent to Task-Masters hath hindered many rare inventions. So
     that Kingly Power hath crushed the Spirit of Knowledge, and would
     not suffer it to rise up in its beauty and fullness, but by his
     Club Law hath preferred the Spirit of Imagination, which is a
     deceiver, before it.


     "For by the Government under Kings the cheaters hereby have cozened
     the plain-hearted of their Creation Birth-rights, and have
     possessed themselves in the Earth, and call it theirs, and not the
     others, and so have brought in that poverty and misery which lies
     upon many men. And whereas the wise should help the foolish, and
     the strong help the weak, the wise and strong destroy the weak and
     simple ... and so the Proverb is made true--_Plain dealing is a
     jewel, but he who uses it shall die a beggar._ And why? Because
     this buying and selling is the nursery of cheats; it is the Law of
     the Conqueror, the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees....
     And these cunning cheaters commonly become the Rulers of the
     Earth.... For not the wise poor man, but the cunning rich man was
     always made an Officer and a Ruler; such a one as by his stolen
     interests in the Earth would be sure to hold others in bondage of
     poverty and servitude to him and his party. Therefore there shall
     be no buying and selling in a free Common-wealth, neither shall
     anyone hire his Brother to work for him."

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs:
such, then, was Winstanley's ideal; such was the Communistic
Commonwealth he evidently imagined would naturally evolve if only the
equal claims of all to the use of the Earth were once recognised and
respected. He was, however, much too shrewd to think for a moment that
any such State could be ushered in all at once, or created by Act of
Parliament. For he continues:

     "If the Common-wealth might be governed without buying and selling,
     here is a Platform of Government for it, which is the ancientest
     Law of Righteousness to Mankind in the use of the Earth, and which
     is the very height of Earthly Freedom. But if the minds of the
     people, through covetousness and proud ignorance, will have the
     Earth governed by buying and selling still, this same Platform,
     with some few things subtracted, declares an easy way of Government
     of the Earth for the quiet of people's minds, and the preserving of
     peace in the Land.


     "The Earth is to be planted and the fruits reaped and carried into
     Barns and Storehouses by the assistance of every family. If any man
     or family want corn or other provisions, they may go to the
     Storehouses and fetch without money. If they want a horse to ride,
     go into the fields in Summer, or to the Common Stables in Winter,
     and receive one from the Keepers, and when your journey is
     performed, bring him where you had him, without money. If any want
     food or victuals, they may either go to the butchers' shops and
     receive what they want without money, or else go to the flocks of
     sheep or herds of cattle, and take and kill what meat is needful
     for their families, without buying and selling. The reason why all
     the riches of the Earth are a Common Stock is this: Because the
     Earth and the labors thereupon are managed by common assistance of
     every family, without buying and selling, as is shown more largely
     in the Office of Overseers for Trades and the Law for Storehouses.
     The Laws for the right ordering thereof, and the Officers to see
     the Laws executed, to preserve the peace of every family, and to
     improve and promote every trade, is shown in the work of Officers
     and the Laws following."


     "None will be an enemy to this Freedom, which, indeed, is to do to
     another as a man would have another do to him, but Covetousness and
     Pride, the spirit of the old grudging, snapping Pharisees, who give
     God abundant of good words in their sermons, in their prayers, in
     their fasts, and in their thanksgivings, as though none should be
     more faithful servants to Him than they. Nay, they will shun the
     company, imprison, and kill every one that will not worship God,
     they are so zealous. Well now, God and Christ hath enacted an
     everlasting Law, which is Love, not only one another of your own
     mind, but love your enemies too, such as are not of your mind: and
     having food and raiment therewith be content. Now here is a trial
     for you, whether you will be faithful to God and Christ in obeying
     His Laws; or whether you will destroy the man-child of true
     Freedom, Righteousness and Peace, in his resurrection. And now thou
     wilt either give us the tricks of a Soldier, face about, and return
     to Egypt, and so declare thyself to be part of the Serpent's seed
     that must bruise the heel of Christ. Or else to be one of the
     plain-hearted Sons of Promise, or Members of Christ, who shall help
     to bruise the Serpent's head, which is Kingly Oppression, and so
     bring in everlasting Righteousness and Peace into the Earth. Well,
     the eye is now open."


     "There shall be Storehouses in all places, both in the Country and
     in Cities, to which all the fruits of the Earth, and other works
     made by Tradesmen, shall be brought, and thence delivered out again
     to particular Families, and to every one as they want for their
     use; or else to be transplanted by ships to other Lands to exchange
     for those things which our Land will not or does not afford. For
     all the labors of Husbandmen and Tradesmen within the Land, or by
     Navigation to or from other Lands, shall be upon the Common Stock.
     And as everyone works to advance the Common Stock, so everyone
     shall have a free use of any commodity in the Storehouse for his
     pleasure and comfortable livelihood, without buying or selling or
     restraint from any. Having food and raiment, lodging, and the
     comfortable societies of his own kind, what can a man desire more
     in these days of his travel? Indeed, covetous, proud, and beastly
     minded men desire more, either to lay by them to look upon, or else
     to waste and spoil it upon their lusts, while other Bretheren live
     in straits for the want of the use thereof. But the Laws and
     Faithful Officers of a Free Commonwealth do regulate the irrational
     conduct of such men.


     "The general Storehouses are such houses as receive in all
     commodities in the gross.... And these general Storehouses shall be
     filled and preserved by the common labor and assistance of every
     Family, as is mentioned in the Office for Overseer for Trades. And
     from these Public Houses, which are the general stock of the Land,
     all particular Tradesmen may fetch materials for their particular
     work as they need, or to furnish their particular dwellings with
     any commodities.

     "_Secondly_, There are particular Storehouses, or Shops, to which
     the Tradesmen shall bring their particular works; as all
     instruments of iron to the Iron-shops, hats to the shops appointed
     for them, and so on.... They shall receive in, as into a
     Storehouse, and deliver out again freely, as out of a Common
     Storehouse, when particular persons or families come for everything
     they need, as now they do by buying and selling under Kingly
     Government. For as particular Families and Tradesmen do make
     several works more than they can make use of ... and do carry their
     particular works to Storehouses; so it is all Reason and Equity
     that they should go to other Storehouses to fetch any other
     commodity which they want and cannot make. For as other men partake
     of their labors, so it is reason they should partake of other

It should be scarcely necessary to pause to point out that what
Winstanley here describes is exactly what is taking place, in his time
as in our times, all the world over. Commodities of every description
are continuously being produced, and being brought to the Storehouses,
wholesale and retail, thence to be redistributed to those who require
them. The Social Problem, of Winstanley's time and of our time, is how
to secure to each co-operating worker his fair share of the returns to
the labours of all. And manifestly this is impossible so long as some
can command any share thereof without having in any way shared in the
toil or rendered any equivalent counter-service. In 1905, as in 1652, an
ever increasing portion and proportion of the wealth thus harvested and
garnered constantly gravitates towards those who, under the prevailing
"kingly laws," claim to control the use of the land, whence alone it can
be derived. This was the basic social injustice, the parent source of
innumerable other social ills and injustices, which Winstanley was one
of the first clearly to apprehend, and to combat which he devoted his

Winstanley, moreover, fully and clearly realised that:


And this formed the heading of his next chapter, in which in a specially
lively manner he first points out that the Laws of a Monarchy--which,
being based upon inequality, necessarily tend to produce inequality, and
whose main function is to legalise and to maintain privileges--are
necessarily essentially different from those suitable to a Free
Commonwealth--which, being based upon the recognition of the equality of
rights, would necessarily tend to produce an equality of social
conditions; and whose main function would be to establish and to
legalise Justice, equal rights and equal duties, to maintain and to
enforce the equal claims of all to the use of the earth, to life, to
liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness. It commences as follows:


     "The King's Old Laws cannot govern in times of Bondage and in times
     of Freedom too. They have indeed served many masters, Papish and
     Protestant. They are like old Soldiers, who will but change their
     name, and turn about, and as they were. The Reason is because they
     are the prerogative will of those, under any Religion, who count it
     no Freedom to them unless they be Lords over the minds, persons and
     labors of their bretheren.

     "They are called the King's Laws, because they are made by the
     King. If any say they were made by the Commoners, it is answered,
     They were not made by the Commoners as the Commoners of a Free
     Commonwealth are to make Laws. For in the days of the King none
     were to choose or be chosen Parliament Men, or Law Makers, but
     Lords of Manors, and Freeholders, such as held title to their
     Enclosures of Land, or Charters for their Liberties in Trades,
     under the King, who called the Land his, as he was the Conqueror or
     his successor. All inferior people were neither to choose nor be
     chosen. And the reason was because all Freeholders of Land and such
     as held their Liberties by Charter, were all of the King's
     interest; and the inferior people were successively of the rank of
     the conquered ones, and servants and slaves from the time of the

     "Further, when a Parliament was chosen in that manner, yet if any
     Parliament Man, in the uprightness of his heart, did endeavour to
     promote any freedom contrary to the King's will or former customs
     from the Conquest, he was either committed to prison by the King or
     by the House of Lords, who were his ancient Norman successive
     Council of War; or else the Parliament was dissolved and broke up
     by the King. So that the old Laws were made in times under Kingly
     Slavery, not under the liberty of Commonwealth's Freedom, because
     Parliament Men had to have regard to the King's prerogative
     interest to uphold his conquest, or else endanger themselves. As
     sometimes it is in these days, some Officers dare not speak against
     the minds of those men who are the chief in power, nor a Private
     Soldier against the mind of his Officer, lest they be cashiered
     their places and livelihood. And so long as the promoting of the
     King's will and prerogative was to be in the eye of the Law Makers,
     the oppressed Commoners could never enjoy Commonwealth's Freedom
     thereby. Yet by the wisdom, courage, faithfulness and industry of
     some Parliament Men, the Commoners have received here a line and
     there a line of freedom inserted into their Laws: as those good
     lines of freedom in Magna Charta were obtained by much hardship and

     "_Secondly_, They were the King's Laws, because the King's own
     creatures made the Laws: Lords of Manors, Freeholders, etc., were
     successors of the Norman soldiers from the Conquest, therefore they
     could do no other but maintain their own and the King's interest.
     Do we not see that all Laws were made in the days of the King to
     ease the rich Landlord? The poor laborers were left under bondage
     still; they were to have no freedom in the earth by those
     pharisaical Laws. For when Laws were made and Parliaments broke up,
     the poor oppressed Commoners had no relief; the power of Lords of
     Manors, withholding the free use of the Common-land from them,
     remained still. For none durst make any use of any Common-land but
     at the Lord's leave, according to the will and law of the
     Conqueror. Therefore the old Laws were called King's Laws."


     "These old Laws cannot govern a Free Commonwealth; because the Land
     is now to be set free from the slavery of the Norman Conquest, and
     the power of Lords of Manors and Norman Freeholders is to be taken
     away. Or else the Commoners are but where they were, if not fallen
     lower into straits than they were. The Old Laws cannot look with
     any other face than they did; though they be washed with
     Commonwealth's water, their countenance is still withered.
     Therefore it was not for nothing that the Kings would have all
     their Laws written in French and Latin, and not in English; partly
     in honor to the Norman Race, and partly to keep the Common People
     ignorant of their Creation Freedom lest they should rise to redeem
     themselves. And if those Laws should be writ in English, yet if the
     same Kingly Principles remain in them, the English language would
     not advantage us anything, but rather increase our sorrow by our
     knowledge of our bondage."


Winstanley then proceeds to consider the question, What is Law? and to
emphasise the essential difference between customary, conventional or
written Law and that unwritten Law, proceeding from the Inward Light of
Reason, that inspires men, in action as in words, to do as they would be
done unto. He first gives the following clear, rational and sufficient
definition of Law:

     "Law is a Rule, whereby men and other creatures are governed in
     their actions for the preservation of Common Peace."

Then follows a most philosophic consideration of the whole question,
which seems to us to reveal that Winstanley was groping, and by no means
so blindly as many who succeeded him, after some Natural Law, some
unalterable and immutable principle, which should serve as a basis, as
well as the test and touchstone, of all man-made customs, laws and
institutions. He continues:


     "This Law is two-fold: First, it is the power of Life (called the
     Law of Nature within the Creatures) which doth move both man and
     beast in their actions, or that causes grass, trees, corn and all
     plants to grow in their several seasons. And whatsoever anybody
     does, he does it as he is moved by this inward Law. And this Law of
     Nature moves two-fold, viz., irrationally or rationally."


     "A man by this inward Law is guided to actions of present content,
     rashly, through a greedy self-love, without any consideration, like
     foolish children, or like the brute beasts. By reason whereof much
     hurt many times follows the body. And this may be called the Law of
     the Members warring against the Law of the Mind."


     "Or where there is an inward watchful oversight of all motions to
     action, considering the end and effect of those actions, so that
     there be no excess in diet, in speech, or in action break forth, to
     the prejudice of a man's self or others: and this may be called the
     Light in Man, the Reasonable Power, or the Law of the Mind. And
     this rises up in the heart by an experimental observation of that
     peace or trouble which such and such words, thoughts and actions
     bring the man into. And this is called the Record on High; for it
     is a record in a man's heart above the former unreasonable power:
     and it may be called the witness or testimony of a man's own
     conscience: and this moderate watchfulness is still the Law of
     Nature, but in a higher resurrection than the former. It hath many
     terms, which for brevity sake I let pass."


     "This two-fold work of the Law within man strive to bring forth
     themselves in writing to beget numbers of bodies on their sides.
     That power which begets the bigger number always rules as King or
     Lord in the creature and in the Creation, till the other side
     overtop him: even as light and darkness strive in day and night to
     succeed each other. Or as it is said--"The strong man armed keeps
     the heart of man till a stronger than he came and cast him out."


     "This written Law, proceeding either from reason or
     unreasonableness, is called the Letter, whereby the creation of
     mankind, beasts and earth are governed, according to the will of
     that power which rules.... As for example, if the experienced, wise
     and strong man bears rule, then he writes down his mind to curb the
     unreasonable Law of Covetousness and Pride in inexperienced man, to
     preserve Peace in the Commonwealth. This is called the Historical
     or Traditional Law, because it is conveyed from one generation to
     another by writing: as the Laws of Israel's Commonwealth were writ
     in a book by Moses, and so conveyed to posterity. And this outward
     Law is a bridle to unreasonableness; or as Solomon writ, It is a
     whip for the fool's back, for whom only it was added."


     "_Secondly_, Since Moses' time the power of unreasonable
     covetousness and pride hath sometimes risen up and corrupted that
     Traditional Law. For since the power of the sword rises up in
     Nations to conquer, the Written Law hath not been to advance Common
     Freedom and to beat down the unreasonable self-will in mankind, but
     it hath been framed to uphold the self-will of the Conqueror, right
     or wrong, not respecting the Freedom of the Commonwealth, but the
     Freedom of the Conqueror and his friends only. By reason whereof
     much slavery hath been laid on the backs of the plain-dealing men;
     and men of public spirit, as Moses was, have been crushed, and
     their spirits damped thereby: which hath bred first discontents,
     and then more wars in the Nations.... But hereby the true nature of
     a well-governed Commonwealth hath been ruined; the will of Kings
     set up for a Law; and the Law of Righteousness, the Law of Liberty,
     trod under foot and killed. This Traditional Law of Kings is that
     Letter at this day which kills true freedom and is the fomenter of
     wars and persecutions.

     "This is the soldier who cut Christ's garments into pieces, which
     was to remain uncut and without seam. This law moves the people to
     fight one against the other for those pieces; viz., for the several
     enclosures of the Earth, who shall possess the Earth, and who shall
     be Rulers over others."


     "But the true ancient Law of God is a Covenant of Peace to the
     whole of mankind. This sets the Earth free to all. This unites both
     Jew and Gentile into one Brotherhood, and rejects none. This makes
     Christ's garment whole again; and makes the Kingdoms of the World
     to become Commonwealths again. It is the Inward Power of Right
     Understanding, which is the True Law that teaches people in action,
     as well as in words, to do as they would be done unto."

Winstanley then contends that, as far as written laws are concerned--


and defends this conclusion as follows:

     "The Laws of Israel's Commonwealth were few, short and pithy; and
     the Government thereof was established in peace so long as Officers
     and People were obedient thereunto. But those many Laws in the days
     of the Kings of England, which were made some in times of Popery
     and some in times of Protestantism, and the proceedings of the Laws
     being in French and Latin, hath produced two great evils in
     England. First, it hath occasioned much ignorance among the people,
     and much contention. And the people have mightily erred through
     want of knowledge, and thereby they have run into great expense of
     money by suits of Law; or else many have been imprisoned, whipped,
     banished, lost their estates and lives by that Law which they were
     ignorant of till the scourge thereof was on their backs. This is a
     sore evil among the people.

     "_Secondly_, The people's ignorance of the laws hath bred many sons
     of contention. For when any difference falls out between man and
     man, they neither of them know which offends the other; therefore,
     both of them thinking their cause is good, they delight to make use
     of the Law; and then they go and give a Lawyer money to tell them
     which of them was the offender. The Lawyer, being glad to maintain
     his own trade, sets them together by the ears till all their money
     be near spent; and then bids them refer the business to their
     neighbors to make them friends, which might have been done at the
     first. So that the course of the Law and Lawyers hath been a mere
     snare to entrap the people and to pull their estates from them by
     craft. For the Lawyers do uphold the Conqueror's Interest and the
     People's Slavery; so that the King, seeing this, did put all the
     affairs of Judicature into their hands: and all this must be called
     Justice, but it is a sore evil.

     "But now if the Laws were few and short, and often read, it would
     prevent those evils. Everyone, knowing when they did well and when
     ill, would be very cautious of their words and actions, and thus
     would escape the Lawyer's craft. As Moses' Law in Israel's
     Commonwealth: '_The People did talk of them when they lay down and
     when they rose up, and as they walked by the way, and bound them as
     bracelets upon their hands_:' so that they were an understanding
     people in the Laws wherein their peace did depend. But it is a sign
     that England is a blinded and snared generation; their Leaders,
     through pride and covetousness, have caused them to err, yea and
     perish too, for want of the knowledge of the Laws, which hath the
     Power of Life and Death, Freedom and Bondage in its hand. But I
     hope better things hereafter."

Winstanley, then, we regret to say, was ambitious enough to attempt to
formulate a whole series of rigid artificial laws, which he evidently
deemed adapted to promote the prosperity and preserve the happiness of
his ideal Commonwealth: laws for the planting of the Earth, for
Navigation, Trade, Marriage, etc. etc. The curious reader will find them
almost in full in Appendix C. Many of them may seem to us unnecessary,
but then we should remember that we have at our command a greater store
of economic knowledge, and more accurate economic reasoning, than were
available to Winstanley. Many of his laws will appear to us
unnecessarily severe; but if we compare them with those prevailing for
many, many years after his time, they will appear, by comparison, both
mild and humane. As it seems to us, Winstanley intended to formulate
suggestions rather than Laws in the accepted sense of the term:
suggestions by following which the Earth could be planted and harvested,
and all handicraft, trade, commerce and industries carried on, and the
fruits of the united labours of all equitably distributed amongst all
according to their needs, without having recourse to "the thieving art
of buying and selling" either the Earth or the fruits thereof.

The pamphlet concludes with the following quaint and yet philosophic
lines, with which our notice of it may also fittingly close:

     "Here is the Righteous Law, Man wilt thou it maintain?
     It may be, as hath still, in the World been slain.
     Truth appears in Light, Falsehood rules in Power;
     To see these things to be, is cause of grief each hour.
     Knowledge, Why didst thou come, to wound and not to cure?
     I sent not for thee, thou didst me inlure.
     Where knowledge does increase, there sorrows multiply,
     To see the great deceit which in the World doth lie.
     Man saying one thing now, unsaying it anon,
     Breaking all Engagements, when deeds for him are done.
     O Power where art thou? thou must mend things amiss;
     Come, change the heart of Man, and make him Truth to kiss:
     O Death, where art thou? wilt thou not tidings send?
     I fear thee not, thou art my loving friend.
     Come take this body, and scatter it in the Four,
     That I may dwell in One, and rest in peace once more."



     "While God gave to man a capacity to labour, He also gave him a
     right to the object (the earth) on which that labour must be
     employed to produce the necessaries of life. This gift of God is to
     all men alike. No compact or consent or legislation on the part of
     one portion of the community, can ever justly deprive another
     portion of the community of their right of their share of the
     earth, and of its natural productions. No arrangement or agreement
     or legislation of men now dead, can justly deprive the present
     inhabitants of the earth, or any portion of those inhabitants, of
     their right to labour, and to labour for their own profit, on some
     portion of the earth which God has given to man."--PATRICK EDWARD
     DOVE, _Elements of Political Science_. 1854.

     "Our postulates are the primary perceptions of human reason, the
     fundamental teachings of the Christian faith. We hold: That--This
     world is the creation of God. The men brought into it for the brief
     period of their earthly lives are the equal creatures of His
     bounty, the equal subjects of His provident care.... Being the
     equal creatures of the Creator, equally entitled under His
     providence to live their lives and satisfy their needs, men are
     equally entitled to the use of land, and any adjustment that denies
     this equal use of land is morally wrong."--HENRY GEORGE, _An Open
     Letter to Pope Leo XIII_. 1891.[228:1]

Here, then, we must bid farewell to Gerrard Winstanley. We are uncertain
as to the place and year of his birth; we know not where he lived, nor
where or when he died; yet his words still appeal to us, prompting us to
cast off the blinding and distorting spectacles of convention and
custom, to look the facts of social life fairly and squarely in the
face, and boldly to proclaim whatever social truths reflection and study
may reveal to us. Such are the lessons which his life and teachings seem
to us to inculcate.

What Winstanley regarded, and what a steadily increasing number of
earnest students to-day regard, as a fundamental social truth was
revealed to him; and right well he gave expression, by words and deeds,
to his strong and well-grounded conviction of the equal claim of all to
the use of Mother Earth, to the use of the nation's natural home,
workhouse and storehouse, whence, by labour, everything necessary to
life and comfort can alone be derived. Winstanley realised, as they
to-day realise, that to admit in the abstract the Fatherhood of God and
the Brotherhood of Man, to admit the equal claim of all to life, and yet
to deny the equal claim of all to the use of God's Earth, to share in
those blessings which the great Father of all men has lavished upon His
children, and which form the only means by which life can be maintained,
is but hypocrisy and cant. The "rights of property," the financial
interests of the privileged classes, the Elder Brothers, the so-called
"power of the capitalists," may be based on and involved in the
recognition of the claim of the few to control the use of the Earth. But
the rights of man, the material, moral and spiritual interests of the
masses of mankind, their emancipation from the unjust economic
conditions to-day enthralling and impoverishing them, narrowing and
degrading their lives, depriving them of all real enjoyment of the
present, as of all hope for the future, hindering the advance of the
race to a nobler civilisation, to a higher plane of individual and
social life, depend upon our recognising and enforcing the claim of all
to the use of the Earth, and to share in the bounties of Nature, upon
equitable terms. What Winstanley discovered and proclaimed in the
Seventeenth Century, Henry George rediscovered and again proclaimed in
the Nineteenth Century, and that in tones which are still reverberating
and producing their effects on social thought throughout the length and
breadth of the civilised world, promising ultimately to produce a change
in social conditions compared with which the abolition of slavery sinks
into comparative insignificance. It is no longer a question of the
emancipation of a few chattel slaves, but of the whole human race.

Fundamental social laws and institutions, based upon inequality of
rights, must necessarily produce inequality of conditions. And all who
impartially consider the question will be forced to admit that both
Winstanley and Henry George trace the prevailing social inequality, the
debauching wealth of the few and the degrading poverty of the many, to
its true cause. Nor can there be any doubt but that if Winstanley's
practical and efficacious remedy had been adopted, if the use of the
Common Land had been secured to the Common People on equitable terms,
the economic condition of the masses of the generations which succeeded
him, the whole subsequent economic, social and political history of the
English People, would have been very different; and they would not now,
in the Twentieth Century, be fighting for, or more often whispering with
bated breath concerning, those very reforms he so strenuously advocated
over two hundred and fifty years ago.

Winstanley's writings met with the fate that awaits all thought much in
advance of the times in which it is given to the world. They have been
ignored and forgotten; and till very recently even his memory had
vanished from the minds of his fellow-countrymen, to whose emancipation
he unstintedly devoted his life. Nor can we be surprised at this, when
we consider the circumstances. There can be little doubt but that his
earlier writings were the quiver whence the early Quakers derived many
of their arrows, their most pointed and consequently by their opponents
most hated doctrines. And yet the highly philosophic and rational
attitude toward cosmological and theological speculations Winstanley
attained to in his last pamphlet, placed before our readers in Chapter
XVI., seems to us sufficiently to account for his having been ignored
even by those who may have availed themselves of his earlier works, and
hence that these, too, should have been gradually forgotten.

That the same fate should have befallen his political writings, his
noble and yet simple and practical political ideals and aspirations, is
also not surprising. After the Restoration, when, as we have already
shown, Winstanley's bitter opponents, the old and new landholders, were
in the saddle, and made unsparing, we had almost written unscrupulous,
use of their opportunities, such doctrines as his were little likely to
commend themselves to the privileged, cultured and educated classes.
Prior to the Reformation, education, at least the knowledge of reading,
writing and arithmetic, was undoubtedly more widely diffused amongst the
masses of the people than it was subsequently--at all events, till very
recent times. From the Restoration to within our own times, education,
even the knowledge of reading, was as a very general rule only within
the reach of the few, of the privileged classes and those more or less
dependent on their favour, with whom such ideals as those voiced by
Winstanley would naturally meet with but scant consideration. Moreover,
though we may be accused of pessimism or cynicism for saying so, it
seems to us that the main reason why teachings such as Winstanley's must
necessarily remain specially unpalatable and unwelcome so long as social
and political privileges are allowed to continue, is that they are too
simple and direct, and the path toward their realisation too clearly
indicated, to be acceptable or welcome to those who benefit, or think
they benefit, by the continuance of social injustice. Winstanley's
proposals, as the proposals of his great modern representative, Henry
George, are, indeed, a test of sincerity. It is easy to express approval
of Freedom, Justice, Honesty, Equality of Opportunities, Brotherhood, of
the Equal Right of All to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,
and so on, _in the abstract_, and to talk about the necessity for men,
_other men_, dealing honestly, equitably and righteously one toward the
other. It is difficult, though but a test of our own honesty and
sincerity, to give practical support to unpopular doctrines and
proposals which would tend to make these noble and elevating conceptions
into real, living realities, and to enforce us to act honestly,
equitably and righteously ourselves. Hence it is that even to-day those
who advocate any such doctrines, any such social change, are either
dismissed as impossible, utopian dreamers, or denounced as revolutionary
demagogues, as "prophets of iniquity," "preachers of immorality,"
"advocates of villany," as enemies of society, and so on; and if this
fails of its desired effects, other means are found by which their
influence is undermined and their teachings discredited in the minds of
those who more or less blindly follow in the wake of the "superior
classes," the privileged few and their more or less direct dependents.
Thus Society continues its troubled slumbers until--until the necessary
changes denied to peaceful reformers, to the thinkers of the race, may
be demanded, by revolutionary methods, by force, by those who know
themselves injured and oppressed, though they may be ignorant of the
means by which they are wronged.

It was, however, as a sincere and unswerving advocate of peaceful,
practical reforms, as a courageous and unflinching opponent of the use
of force, of the sword, even for righteous ends, that Winstanley
appealed to his own generation, as Henry George, Ruskin and Tolstoy
appeal to the present. Nor can there be any doubt but that his teachings
found far more general acceptance than is to be gathered from modern
histories of the troubled times in which his lot was cast. For not only
was there sufficient demand to warrant the publication of at least two
editions of _The Law of Freedom_, as of several of his other pamphlets,
but additional testimony is to be gathered from the fact that his
writings were immediately pirated and issued under new titles by other
publishers:[232:1] than which no better evidence can be had of the
popularity of any writer.

However this may be, new and less earnest and less strenuous generations
arose which knew not Winstanley, and heeded not his teachings; and till
very recent years both he and his teachings have remained utterly
forgotten. And yet we write the closing lines of our work with the same
conviction with which we commenced it some five years ago, that not only
was Gerrard Winstanley a man worthy to be recalled to the memory of his
fellow-countrymen, as one who deserved well of his day, of his
generation and of his country, but that the intrinsic merits of his
writings and teachings make them worthy of our most careful study, of
our highest admiration, and of our most profound respect.

True, they have hitherto received but scant consideration; but this need
neither surprise nor disturb us. The man in whose heart a new truth is
born may be a benefactor of his species; but, as all history teaches us,
if he have courage to proclaim it to the world, he must be prepared to
meet the hatred, scoffing and abuse of the ignorant, the sneering
contempt, if not bitter persecution, of the learned and highly placed
upholders of already accepted beliefs and superstitions. More especially
is this true of a social truth, of a truth which threatens the
continuance of society in its accustomed paths, which threatens the
continuance of some vested social wrong, of some deep-rooted and
time-honoured social injustice, which, though it may be poisoning the
springs of social life, necessarily finds favour in the eyes of those
who are advantaged, or think they are advantaged, thereby. It was such a
truth that meditation and reflection revealed to Gerrard Winstanley;
and, as we have seen, he too met with the fate awaiting those who find
themselves in advance of their times. As already pointed out, his memory
has passed away, his teachings have remained unheeded. The seed he
planted fell upon barren soil; but though so hardened by the withering
frosts of ignorance, of that ignorance which is indeed "the curse of
God," as to seem but as a dead stone, the vivifying sun of knowledge may
yet stir its dormant potency, recalling it to life, to spring up and to
develop into a stately tree, yielding its life-giving fruits, offering
the welcome protection of its branches to all seeking rest and shelter
beneath its shade. To-day the thought that inspired Winstanley has again
been proclaimed by one greater than Winstanley, and is slowly but surely
remoulding the social thought of the world. Thanks to the genius of
Henry George, the more thoughtful and ethical-minded of our race are
gradually coming to realise that, to use Winstanley's words--"True
Commonwealth's Freedom lies in the free enjoyment of the Earth"; and
that if they would remove those remediable social ills which harass,
haunt and warp our advancing civilisation, the use of the Earth and a
share in the bounties and blessings of Nature must be secured to each
and all upon equitable terms and conditions. Hence it is that we feel
impelled to close our notice of the great Apostle of Social Justice and
Economic Freedom of the Seventeenth Century with the following eloquent
and soul-stirring words of his still greater successor of the Nineteenth
Century, words which almost seem but as an echo of his own, even though
many of us even to-day may have yet to learn to appreciate their full
force, meaning and truth:

     "In our time, as in times before, creep on the insidious forces
     that, producing inequality, destroy Liberty. On the horizon the
     clouds begin to lower. Liberty calls to us again. We must follow
     her further; we must trust her fully. Either we must wholly accept
     her or she will not stay. It is not enough that men should vote; it
     is not enough that they should be theoretically equal before the
     law. They must have liberty to avail themselves of the
     opportunities and means of life; they must stand on equal terms
     with reference to the bounties of nature. Either this, or Liberty
     withdraws her light! Either this, or darkness comes on, and the
     very forces that progress has evolved turn to powers that work
     destruction. This is the universal law. This is the lesson of the
     centuries. Unless its foundations be laid in justice the social
     structure cannot stand."



[228:1] Published under the title, _The Condition of Labour_ (Swan,
Sonnenschein & Co., London).

[232:1] The following are some of such pirated publications: _Articles
of High Treason._ British Museum, Press Mark, E. 521. _A Declaration for
Freedom._ E. 321. _The Levellers Remonstrance._ E. 652. 12.




To the Christian Reader, Peace and the Grace of God through
Christ,--There are many Anti-Christians who now take occasion to libel
the Gospel on account of the assembled peasantry, saying these be the
fruits of the New Gospel, to obey none, to raise rebellion in all
places, to rush to arms to reform, to root out, and perhaps to destroy
all spiritual and temporal authority. All such godless and wicked
judgements the Articles here written do answer; in the first place, so
that the shame may be lifted off the word of God; in the second, to
excuse in a Christian manner this uprising of the peasants.

In the first place, the Gospel is no cause of any uprising, seeing that
it is the word of Christ, the promised Messiah, whose word and life
teach naught save love, peace, patience and unity; so all who believe in
this Christ should be loving, peaceful, patient and united. The object
of all the Articles of the Peasants, when once clearly apprehended, is
that they may hear the Gospel and live according to the Gospel. How then
can Anti-Christians denounce the Gospel as a cause of rebellion and
disobedience? But that Anti-Christians and Enemies of the Gospel should
rise up against such requirements, of this the Gospel is not the cause,
but the Devil, the most hurtful enemy of the Gospel, who arouses
infidelity in his followers, so that the word of God, which teaches
peace and unity, may be trodden down and taken away.

In the second place, the following show clearly that the peasants in
their Articles demand the Gospel for teaching and for life; therefore
they cannot be called disobedient or rebellious. But should God hear the
peasants, who sincerely desire to live according to His word: Who will
oppose the will of God? (Rom. xi.). Who will impeach His judgment? (Isa.
xi.). Who dare resist His majesty? (Rom. viii.). Did He not hear the
Children of Israel when they called on Him, and delivered them out of
the hand of Pharaoh (II Moses 3. 7), and can He not to-day also save His
own? Aye, He will save them, and that speedily (Luke xviii. 8).
Therefore, Christian Reader, read the following Articles sedulously, and
then judge.


It is our humble request and desire, as also our will and intention,
that henceforth the community itself shall have power to choose their
Pastor, as also to dismiss him should he be found unsuitable. The Pastor
so chosen shall preach to us the Gospel clearly and purely, free from
all man-made additions, teachings and ordinances. For whoever preaches
to us the true Faith giveth us reason to pray to God for His mercy, and
to call up within us and confirm us in the true Faith. For if we do not
enjoy His grace, we remain mere flesh and blood, which profiteth not. It
is clearly written in the Scriptures that it is only through the true
Faith that we can come to God, and only through His mercy that we can be
saved. Therefore it is that we require such a Pastor and Minister.


_Secondly_, As the just tithe was established in the Old Testament, and
in the New covered all dues, so we will gladly furnish the just tithe of
corn, but only in a seemly manner, according to which it should be given
to God, and divided among His servants. It is the due of a Pastor, as
the Word of God clearly proclaims. Therefore it is our will that the
Church Overseers, such as are appointed by the Community, shall collect
and receive this tithe, and therefrom shall give to the Pastor, who
shall be chosen by the Community, suitable and sufficient subsistence
for him and his, as the whole Community may deem just. The surplus shall
be devoted to the use of the poor and needy, as we are instructed in the
Holy Scriptures. And so that no general tax shall be levied on the poor,
their share of such taxation shall be defrayed out of such surplus.

In villages where the right to the tithe has been sold, out of sheer
necessity, the buyers shall lose nothing, but their rights shall be
redeemed in a seemly manner. But those who have not bought the right to
the tithe from the village, but who or whose fathers have simply usurped
it to themselves, we will not and we should not give them anything. We
owe such men nothing; but we are willing out of the proceeds of such
tithe to support our chosen Pastor, and to relieve the needy as we are
commanded in the Holy Scriptures.

The small tithe we will not give. For God the Lord hath created the
beasts free to mankind (Gen. i.). It is only a mere human invention that
we should pay tithe on them. Therefore we shall not pay such tithe for
the future.


_Thirdly_, It has hitherto been the custom that we should be held as
serfs, which is deplorable, since Christ redeemed us all with His
precious blood, the shepherd as well as the noble, the lowest as well as
the highest, none being excepted. Therefore it accords with Scripture
that we should be free; and we will be free. Not that we are absolutely
free, or desire to be free from all authority: this God does not teach
us. We are to live according to His commandments, not according to the
promptings of the flesh; but shall love God as our Master, and recognise
Him as the one nearest to us. And everything He has commanded we shall
do; and His commands do not instruct us to disobey the orders of the
Authorities. On the contrary, not only before the Authorities, but
before all men we are to be humble; so that in all matters fitting and
Christian we shall gladly obey the orders of those who have been chosen
or have been set up over us. And doubtless, as true and honest
Christians, you will gladly abolish serfdom, or prove it to be in
accordance with the Gospel.


_Fourthly_, It has hitherto been the custom that no poor man should have
any right to the game, the birds, or to the fish in the running waters.
This seems to us unseemly and unbrotherly, and not to be in accordance
with the Word of God. Moreover, in some places the authorities let the
game increase to our injury and mighty undoing, since we have to permit
that which God has caused to grow for the use of man to be unavailingly
devoured by the beasts; and we have to hold our peace concerning this,
which is against God and our neighbours. When our Lord God created
mankind, He gave him power over all creatures, over the birds in the air
and the fish in the waters. Therefore as regards those who control the
running waters, and who can show us documents to prove that they
purchased it with money, we do not desire to take it away from such men
by force, but to come to some Christian agreement with them in brotherly
love. Those who have no such documents shall share with the community in
a seemly manner.


_Fifthly_, We find ourselves oppressed as regards the woods. For our
Lords have taken to themselves all the woods; and when poor men require
any wood, they have to buy it with money. Our view is that such woods,
whether claimed by spiritual or by temporal Lords, as have not been
purchased, should return to the community, and be free to all in a
seemly manner. So that those who require wood for firing shall be free
to take same without payment, as also if they require any for
carpentering: but, of course, always with the knowledge of the chosen
Authorities of the community. But where there are no woods save those as
have been honestly purchased, with such we will arrange the matter in a
brotherly and Christian spirit. And in cases where the land was first
appropriated and afterwards sold, we will also come to an agreement with
the buyers according to the circumstances of the case, and with regard
to brotherly love and the Holy Writings.


_Sixthly_, The burden of service presses heavily upon us, and is daily
increased. We desire that this matter shall be looked into, and that we
be not so heavily burdened, but shall be mercifully dealt with herein;
that we should serve but as our fathers have served, but only according
to the Word of God.


_Seventhly_, Henceforth we will no longer allow ourselves to be
oppressed by the Lords, but according as a Lord hath granted the land,
so shall it be held, according to the agreement between the Lord and the
peasant. The Lord shall not force him to render more service for naught;
so that the peasant shall enjoy his holding in peace and unoppressed.
But if the Lord hath need of service, the peasant shall be willing and
obedient to him before others; but it shall be at the hour and the time
when it shall not injure the peasant, and at a proper remuneration.


_Eighthly_, Many of us are oppressed in that we hold lands that will not
bear the price placed on them, so that the peasant thereby is ruined and
undone. Our desire is that the Lord shall allow such land to be seen by
honourable men, so that the price shall be fixed in such a manner that
the peasant shall not have his labour in vain: for every labourer is
worthy of his hire (Matt. x.).


_Ninthly_, We suffer greatly because of the new punishments that are
continually laid upon us. Not that they punish us according to the
circumstances of the case, but at times spitefully and at other times
favourably. We would be punished according to the old written
punishments, and not arbitrarily.


_Tenthly_, We suffer in that some have taken to themselves meadows and
arable land that belong to the community. Such land we would take once
more into the hands of our communities wheresoever they have not been
honestly purchased. But where they have been purchased, then shall the
case be agreed upon in peace and brotherly love, according to the
circumstances of the case.


_Eleventhly_, We would have the custom called the death-due entirely
abolished. We will never suffer nor permit that widows and orphans shall
be disgraced and robbed of their own, contrary to God and honour, as has
happened in many cases and in many ways. Those who would protect and
shelter them, they have abused and injured, and when these have had
some little property, even this they have taken. Such things God will no
longer suffer, they shall be abolished. For such things no man shall
henceforth be compelled to give aught, be it little or much.


_Twelfthly_, It is our resolve and final decision that if any of the
Articles here set forth be not according to the Word of God, we will,
whenever they are shown to be against the Word of God, at once withdraw
therefrom. Yea, even though certain articles were now granted and it
should hereafter be found that they are unjust, from that hour they
shall be null and void and of no effect. The same shall happen if there
should with truth be found in the Scriptures yet more Articles which
were held to be against God and a stumbling-block to our neighbours,
even though we should have determined to preserve such for ourselves.
For we have determined and resolved to practice ourselves in all
Christian doctrines. Therefore we pray God the Lord who can grant us the
same, and none other. The Peace of Christ be with you all. Amen.



The statement that toleration was the one leading principle of
Cromwell's life, may seem somewhat exaggerated to those who have not
carefully studied his career. By his own words let him be judged.
Writing to Major Crawford as early as March 1643 (1644) he plainly tells
him--"Sir, the State, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of
their opinions; if they be willing faithfully to serve it, that
satisfies." After Naseby, under date June 14th, 1645, in his dispatch to
the Speaker, he tells the Presbyterian House of Commons--"Honest men
served you faithfully in this action. Sir, they are trusty; I beseech
you in the name of God not to discourage them.... _He that ventures his
life for the liberty of the country, I wish he trust God for the liberty
of his conscience, and you for the liberty he fights for._" The meaning
of these words was not lost to the House, so when sending his dispatch
to the press, they carefully omitted this paragraph.

After the siege of Bristol, Cromwell is still more outspoken. Under date
September 14th, 1645, he writes to the Speaker as follows--"Presbyterians,
Independents, all have here the same spirit of faith and prayer; the same
presence and answer; they agree here, have no names of difference; pity
it should be otherwise anywhere--_for, bretheren, in things of the mind
we look for no compulsion but that of light and reason_." This dispatch,
too, the House of Commons took care to mutilate before sending it to the

As he advanced in his career, Cromwell became still more outspoken. In
his opening speech to his first Parliament, after having given
expression to his view that the Lord had given them the victory for the
common good of all, "for the good of the whole flock," he
continues--"Therefore I beseech you--but I think I need not--have a care
of the whole flock! Love the sheep, love the lambs; love all, tender
all, cherish and countenance all, in all things that are good. _And if
the poorest Christian, the most mistaken Christian, shall desire to live
peaceably and quietly under you--I say, if any shall desire but to lead
a life of godliness and honesty, let him be protected._"

Again, when dissolving his first Parliament (Speech IV.), he expresses
the same thought in the following words--"Is there not yet upon the
spirits of men a strange itch? Nothing will satisfy them unless they can
press their finger upon their bretheren's consciences, to pinch them
there. To do this was no part of the contest we had with the common
adversary. For religion was not the thing at first contended for, but
God brought it to that issue at last; and gave it unto us by way of
redundancy; and at last it proved to be that which was most dear to us.
And wherein consisted this more than in obtaining that liberty from the
tyranny of the Bishops to all species of Protestants to worship God
according to their own light and consciences? ... And was it fit for them
to sit heavy upon others? Is it ingenuous to ask liberty and not to give
it? What greater hypocrisy than for those who were oppressed by the
Bishops to become the greatest oppressors themselves, so soon as their
yoke was removed? I could wish that they who call for liberty now also
had not too much of that spirit, if the power were in their hands."

Cromwell, in short, had no deep-rooted objection either to a moderate
Episcopacy or to a tolerant Presbyterianism, though, as he somewhere
says, "both are a hard choice," provided only there was sufficient
consideration for those who could not reconcile their consciences to the
demands of the established State Church. His great desire was "for union
and right understanding" between Protestants of all shades, in fact
between "godley" (religious or moral) people of all races, countries and
denominations, "Scots, English, Jews, Gentiles, Presbyterians,
Independents, Anabaptists, and all." (See his letter to Hammond, _Clarke
Papers_, vol. ii. p. 49.) His aim was to reconcile, or rather to stand
as mediator between all the opposing sects. "Fain," he writes to one of
his most devoted adherent (see _Cromwell's Letters and Speeches_,
Carlyle, part vii. p. 363), "would I have my service accepted of the
Saints, if the Lord will;--but it is not so. Being of different
judgements, and those of each sort seeking most to propagate their own,
that spirit of kindness that is to them all is hardly accepted of any. I
hope I can say it, My life has been a willing sacrifice,--and I
hope--for them all. Yet it much falls out as when the two Hebrews were
rebuked: you know upon whom they turned their displeasure."

In short, Cromwell's attitude toward all honest, sincere, "godley" men
was the same as his attitude toward George Fox. "Come again to my
house," he said, when dismissing the sturdy Quaker, "for if thou and I
were but an hour a day together we should be nearer one to the other. I
wish you no more ill than I do to my own soul."

On November 17th, 1645, "the Dissenting Bretheren," the representatives
of the Independents in the Westminster Assembly, declared for a full
liberty of conscience. "They expressed themselves," as Baillie, the
Scotch Presbyterian commissioner, wrote sadly, "for toleration, not only
to themselves, but to all sects." In February of the same year, the
Oxford Clergy, who had been consulted by the King as to the limits of
possible concession, gave strong evidence that the pressure of events
were forcing them to move, even though slowly, in the same direction.
(See Gardiner, _History of the Civil War_, vol. ii. pp. 125-126.)



1. The bare letter of the Law established by Act of Parliament shall be
the Rule for Officers and People, and the chief Judge of all actions.

2. He or they who add or diminish from the Law, excepting in the Court
of Parliament, shall be cashiered his Office, and never bear Office

3. No man shall administer the Law for Money or Reward. He that doth
shall die as a Traitor to the Commonwealth. For when Money must buy and
sell Justice, and bear all the sway, there is nothing but Oppression to
be expected.

     [Here, as also in other Laws yet to follow, Winstanley, and as it
     seems to us without sufficient grounds, gives up the position taken
     up in The New Law of Righteousness, that capital punishment was
     absolutely unjustifiable.]

4. The Laws shall be read by the Minister to the People four times in
the year, viz., every quarter; that everyone may know whereunto they are
to yield obedience, that none may die for want of knowledge.

5. No accusation shall be taken against any man unless it be proved by
two or three witnesses, or his own confession.

6. No man shall suffer any punishment but for matter of fact or reviling
words. But no man shall be troubled for his judgement or practice in the
things of his God, so he live quiet in the Land.

7. The accuser and the accused shall always appear face to face before
any Officer; that both sides may be heard, and no wrong to either party.

8. If any Judge execute his own will contrary to the Law, or where there
is no Law to warrant him in, he shall be cashiered, and never bear
Office more.

9. He who raises an accusation against any man, and cannot prove it,
shall suffer the same punishment as the other should, if proved. An
accusation is, when one man complains of another to an Officer, all
other accusations the Law takes no notice of.

10. He who strikes his neighbor shall be struck himself by the
executioner, blow for blow, and shall lose eye for eye, tooth for tooth,
limb for limb, life for life. And the reason is that men should be
tender of one another's bodies, doing as they would be done by.

11. If any man strike an Officer, he shall be made a servant under the
Task-master for a whole year.

12. He who endeavours to stir up contention among neighbors, by
tale-bearing or false reports, shall the first time be reproved openly
by the Overseers among the people. The second time he shall be whipped.
The third time he shall be a servant under the Task-master for three
months. And if he continue, he shall be a servant for ever, and lose his
Freedom in the Commonwealth.

13. If any give reviling or provoking words, whereby his neighbor's
spirit is burdened, if complaint be made to the Overseers, they shall
admonish the offender privately to forbear. If he continue to offend his
neighbor, the next time he shall be openly reproved and admonished
before the Congregation when met together. If he continue, the third
time he shall be whipped; the fourth time, if proof be made by
witnesses, he shall be a servant under the Task-master for twelve

14. He who will rule as a Lord over his Brother, unless he be an Officer
commanding obedience to the Law, he shall be admonished as aforesaid,
and receive like punishment, if he continue.


15. Every household shall keep all instruments and tools fit for the
tillage of the Earth, either for planting, reaping or threshing. Some
households, which have many men in them, shall keep ploughs, carts,
harrows, and such like. Other households shall keep spades, pick-axes,
pruning hooks, and such like, according as every family is furnished
with men to work therewith. And if any Master or Father of a Family be
negligent herein, the Overseer for that Circuit shall admonish him
between them two. If he continue negligent, the Overseer shall reprove
him before all the people. And if he utterly refuse, then the ordering
of that Family shall be given to another, and he shall be Servant under
the Task-master till he reform.

16. Every Family shall come into the field with sufficient assistance at
seed time, to plough, dig and plant, and at harvest time to reap the
fruits of the Earth, and to carry them into the Storehouses, as the
Overseers order the work and the number of workmen. If any refuse to
assist in the work, the Overseer shall ask the reason; and if it be
sickness or any distemper that hinders them, they are freed from such
service; if mere idleness keep them back, they are to suffer punishment
according to the Laws against Idleness.


17. If any refuse to learn a trade, or refuse to work in seed-time, or
refuse to be a waiter in storehouses, and yet will feed and clothe
himself with other men's labors, the Overseer shall first admonish him
privately. If he continue idle, he shall be reproved openly before all
the people by the Overseer, and shall be forbore with a month after this
reproof. If he still continue idle, he shall be whipped, and let go at
liberty for a month longer. If still he continue idle, he shall be
delivered into the Task-master's hand, who shall set him to work for
twelve months, or till he submit to right order. The reason why every
young man shall be trained up in some work or other, is to prevent pride
and contention; it is for the health of their bodies; it is a pleasure
to the mind to be free in labors one with another; and it provides
plenty of food and all necessaries for the Commonwealth.


18. In every Town and City shall be appointed Storehouses for flax,
wood, leather, cloth, and for all such commodities as come from beyond
seas. These shall be called General Storehouses, whence every particular
Family may fetch such commodities as they want, either for their own use
in their house, or for to work in their trades, or to carry into the
Country Storehouses.

19. Every particular house and shop in a town or city shall be a
particular Storehouse or Shop, as now they be. And these shops shall
either be furnished by the particular labor of that family according to
the trade that family is of, or by the labor of other lesser families of
the same trade, as all shops in every town are now furnished.

20. The waiters in Storehouses shall deliver the goods in their charge
without receiving any money, as they shall receive in their goods
without paying any money.

21. If any waiter in a Storehouse neglect his Office, upon a just
complaint, the Overseers shall acquaint the Judge's Court therewith; and
from thence he shall receive his sentence, to be discharged that house
and office, to be appointed some other work under the Task-master; and
another shall have his place. For he who may live in Freedom and will
not, is to taste of servitude.


22. The only work of every Overseer is to see the Laws executed. For the
Law is the True Magistracy of the land.

23. If any Overseer favour any in their idleness and neglect the
execution of the Laws, he shall be reproved, the first time by the
Judge's Court; the second time cashiered his Office, and shall never
bear Office more, but fall back into the ranks of young people and
servants to be a worker.

24. New Overseers, at their first entrance into their office, shall look
back upon the actions of the Old Overseers of the last year, to see if
they have been faithful in their places, and consented to no breach of
Law, whereby Kingly Bondage should in any way be brought in.

25. The Overseers for Trades shall see every Family to lend assistance
to plant and reap the fruits of the Earth, to work in their Trades, and
to furnish the Storehouses. And to see that the Waiters in Storehouses
be diligent to receive in and deliver out any goods, without buying and
selling, to any man whatsoever.

26. While any Overseer is in performance of his place, every one shall
assist him, upon pain of open reproof (or cashiered if he be another
Officer) or forfeiture of freedom, according to the nature of the
business in hand, in which he refused his assistance.


27. If any man entice another to buy and sell, and he who is enticed
does not yield, but makes it known to the Overseer, the enticer shall
lose his freedom for twelve months, and the Overseer shall give words of
commendation of him that refused the enticement before all the
Congregation, for his faithfulness to the Commonwealth's Peace.


28. If any do buy and sell the Earth, or the fruits thereof, unless it
be to or with strangers of another Nation, according to the Law of
Navigation, they shall be both put to death as Traitors to the Peace of
the Commonwealth. Because it brings in Kingly Bondage again, and is the
occasion of all quarrels and oppressions.

29. He, or she, who calls the Earth his, and not his brother's, shall be
set upon a stool, with those words written in his forehead, before all
the Congregation, and afterwards be made a Servant for twelve months
under the Task-master. If he quarrel, or seek by secret persuasion or
open rising in arms to set up such a Kingly Propriety, he shall be put
to death.

30. The Storehouses shall be every man's subsistence, and not any ones.

31. No man shall either give hire or take hire for his work; for this
brings in Kingly Bondage. If any Freeman want help, there are young
people, or such as are common servants, to do it by the Overseer's
appointment. He that gives and he that hires for work, shall both lose
their freedom and become Servants for twelve months under the


32. Because other Nations as yet own Monarchy, and will buy and sell,
therefore it is convenient for the peace of our Commonwealth, that our
ships do transport our English goods and exchange for theirs, and
conform to the customs of other Nations in buying and selling: Always
provided that what goods our ships carry out, they shall be the
Commonwealth's goods; and all their trading with other Nations shall be
upon the Common Stock, to enrich the Storehouses.


33. As Silver and Gold is either found out in mines in our own Land, or
brought by shipping from beyond Sea, it shall not be coined with a
Conqueror's stamp upon it, to set up buying and selling under his name,
or by his leave. For there shall be no other use for it in the
Commonwealth than to make dishes and other necessaries for the ornament
of houses, as now there is use made of brass, pewter and iron, or any
other metal in their use. But in case other Nations whose commodities we
want, will not exchange with us unless we give them money, then pieces
of silver and gold may be stamped with the Commonwealth's Arms upon
them, for the same use and no otherwise.

For where money bears all the sway, there is no regard of that Golden
Rule, "_Do as you would be done by_." Justice is bought and sold; nay,
Injustice is sometimes bought for money; and it is the cause of all wars
and oppressions. Certainly the Righteous Spirit of the Whole Creation
did never enact a Law that his weak and simple men should go from
England to the East Indies and fetch silver and gold to bring in their
hands to their bretheren, and give it them for their good-will to let
them plant the Earth, and live and enjoy their livelihood therein.


34. All Overseers and State Officers shall be chosen new every year, to
prevent the rise of Ambition and Covetousness. For the Nations have
smarted sufficiently by suffering Officers to continue long in an
Office, or to remain in an Office by hereditary succession.

35. A man who is of a turbulent spirit, given to quarrelling and
provoking words to his neighbor, shall not be chosen any Officer while
he so continues.

36. All men of twenty years of age upwards shall have freedom of voice
to choose Officers, unless they be such as lie under sentence of the

37. Such shall be chosen Officers as are rational men of moderate
conversation, and who have experience in the Laws of the Commonwealth.

38. All men from forty years of age upwards shall be capable to be
chosen State Officers, and none younger, unless any one by his industry
and moderate conversation doth move the people to choose him.

39. If any man make suit to move the people to choose him an Officer,
that man shall not be chosen at all that time. If another man shall
persuade the people to choose him that made suit for himself, they shall
both loose their freedom at that time, viz., they shall neither have a
voice to choose another, nor be chosen themselves.


40. He who professes the service of a righteous God by preaching and
prayer, and makes a trade to get the possessions of the Earth, shall be
put to death for a Witch and a Cheater.

41. He who pretends one thing in words, and his actions declare his
intent was another thing, shall never bear Office in the Commonwealth.


Every Freeman shall have a Freedom in the Earth, to plant or build, to
fetch from the Storehouses anything he wants, and shall enjoy the fruits
of his labor without restraint from any. He shall not pay Rent to any
Landlord. He shall be capable of being chosen Officer, so he be above
forty years of age, and he shall have a voice to choose Officers though
he be under forty years of age. If he want any young men to be
assistants to him in his trade or household employment, the Overseers
shall appoint him young men or maids to be his servants in his family.


42. All those who have lost their freedom shall be clothed in white
woollen cloth, that they may be distinguished from others.

43. They shall be under the government of a Task-master, who shall
appoint them to be porters or laborers, to do any work that any Freeman
wants to be done.

44. They shall do all kinds of labor without exception, but their
constant work shall be carriers or carters, to carry corn or other
provision from Storehouse to Storehouse, from Country to Cities, and
thence to Countries.

45. If any of these refuse to do such work, the Task-master shall see
them whipped, and shall feed them with coarse diet. And what hardship is
this? For Freemen work the easiest work, and these shall work the
hardest work. And to what end is this but to kill their Pride and
Unreasonableness, that they may become useful men in the Commonwealth?

46. The wife or children of such as have lost their Freedom shall not be
as slaves till they have lost their Freedom as their parents and
husbands have done.

47. He who breaks any laws shall be the first time reproved in words in
private or in public, as is shown before; the next time whipped; the
third time lose his Freedom, either for a short time or for ever, and
not to be any Officer.

48. He who hath lost his Freedom shall be a common servant to any
Freeman who comes to the Task-master and requires one to do any work for
him. Always provided, that after one Freeman hath by the consent of the
Task-master appointed him his work, another Freeman shall not call him
thence till that work be done.

49. If any of these offenders revile the Laws by words, they shall be
soundly whipped and fed with coarse diet. If they raise weapons against
the Laws, they shall die as Traitors.


50. When any Slaves [_i.e._ those who have lost their Freedom] give open
testimony of their humility and diligence, and of their care to observe
the Laws of the Commonwealth, they are then capable to be restored to
their Freedom, when the time of servitude has expired, according to the
Judge's sentence. But if they continue opposite to the Laws, they shall
continue slaves for another term of time.

51. None shall be restored to Freedom till they have been a twelve month
laboring servants to the Commonwealth; for they shall winter and summer
in that condition.

52. When any is restored to Freedom, the Judge at the Senator's Court
shall pronounce his Freedom, and give liberty to him to be clothed in
what other coloured garments he will.

53. If any person be sick or wounded, the Chyrurgeons, who are trained
up in the knowledge of Herbs and Minerals, and know how to apply
plasters or physick, shall go when they are sent for to any who need
their help, but require no reward, because the Common Stock is the
public pay for every man's labor.

54. When a dead person is to be buried, the Officers of the Parish and
neighbors shall go along with the corpse to the grave, and see it laid
therein in a civil manner; but the public Minister nor any other shall
have any hand in reading or exhortation.

     [Whatever we may think of this latter proviso, certain it is that
     it would put an end to many unseemly squabblings at a time when
     they are specially to be avoided.]

55. When a man hath learned his Trade, and the time of his seven years
Apprenticeship has expired, he shall have his Freedom to become Master
of a Family, and the Overseers shall appoint him such young people to be
his servants as they think fit, whether he marry or live a single life.


56. Every man and woman shall have the free liberty to marry whom they
love, if they can obtain the love and liking of that party whom they
would marry, and neither birth nor portion shall hinder the match. For
we are all of one blood, mankind, and for portion, the Common
Storehouses are every man and maid's portion, as free to one as to

57. If any man lie with a maid and beget a child, he shall marry her.

58. If a man lie with a woman forcibly, and she cry out and give no
consent; if this be proved by two witnesses, or the man's confession, he
shall be put to death, and the woman let go free: it is robbery of a
woman's bodily freedom.

59. If any man by violence endeavour to take another man's wife, the
first time of such violent offer he shall be reproved before the
Congregation by the Peacemaker; the second time he shall be made a
Servant under the Task-master for twelve months; and if he forcibly lie
with another man's wife, and she cry out, as is the case when, a maid is
forced, the man shall be put to death.

60. When any man or woman have consented to live together in marriage,
they shall acquaint all the Overseers in the Circuit therewith, and some
other neighbors. And being all met together, the man shall declare with
his own mouth before them all that he takes that woman to be his wife,
and the woman shall say the same, and desire the Overseers to be


61. No Master of a Family shall suffer more meat to be dressed at a
dinner or supper than will be spent and eaten by his household or
company present, or within such a time after before it be spoilt. If
there be any spoil constantly made in a family of the food of man, the
Overseer shall reprove the Master for it privately; if that abuse be
continued in his family, through his neglect of family government, he
shall be openly reproved by the Peacemaker before all the people, and
ashamed for his folly; the third time he shall be made a servant for
twelve months under the Task-master, so that he may know what it is to
get food, and another shall have the oversight of his house for the

62. No man shall be suffered to keep house and have servants under him
till he hath served seven years under command to a Master himself. The
reason is that a man may be of age and of rational carriage before he be
made a Governor of a Family, that the peace of the Commonwealth may be



WINSTANLEY, The Mystery of God concerning the Whole Creation,
      Mankind.--April 1648. (British Museum, Press Mark, 4377, a. 1.)

 "    The Breaking of the Day of God.--May 1648. (British Museum, P. M.,
      4377, a. 2.)

 "    The Saints' Paradise: Or the Father's Teaching the Only Satisfaction
      to Waiting Souls.--August or September 1648. (British Museum, P. M.,
      E. 2137.)

 "    Truth Lifting up its Head above Scandals.--October 1648. (British
      Museum, P. M., 4372, a.a. 17.)

 "    (?) Light Shining in Buckinghamshire.--December 1648. (British
      Museum, P. M., E. 475 (11).)

 "    (?) More Light Shining in Buckinghamshire.--March 1649. (British
      Museum, P. M., E. 548 (33).)

 "    (?) A Declaration from the Well Affected in the County of
      Buckinghamshire.--May 1649. (British Museum, P. M., E. 555.)

 "    The New Law of Righteousness.--January 1649. (Jesus College Library,

 "    Fire in the Bush: The Spirit burning, not consuming but purging,
      Mankind.--March 1649. (Bodleian Library.)

 "    A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England.--March
      1649. (British Museum, Press Mark, 1027, i. 16 (3).)

 "    The True Levellers' Standard Advanced: Or the State of Community
      opened and presented to the Sons of Men.--April 1649. (British
      Museum, P. M., E. 552.)

 "    A Declaration of the Bloody and Unchristian Acting of William Star
      and John Taylor of Walton, with diverse men in women's apparel, in
      opposition to those that dig upon St. Georges Hill.--June 1649.
      (British Museum, Press Mark, E. 561.)

 "    A Letter to Lord Fairfax and his Council of War.--June 1649.
      (British Museum, P. M., E. 560 (1).)

 "    An Appeal to the House of Commons.--July 1649. (British Museum,
      P. M., E. 564. Also at the Guildhall Library.)

 "    A Watchword to the City of London.--August 1649. (British Museum,
      P. M., E. 573. Also at the Guildhall Library.)

 "    A Second Letter to Lord Fairfax.--December 1649. (Clarke Papers,
      vol. ii. pp. 217-220.)

COSTER, ROBERT, A Mite cast into the Common Treasury.--December 1649.
      (British Museum, P. M., E. 585.)

 "    The Diggers' Mirth. (British Museum, P. M., E. 1365.)

 "    The Diggers' Song. (Clarke Papers, vol. ii. p. 218.)

WINSTANLEY, A New Year's Gift for the Parliament and Army.--January
      1650. (British Museum, P. M., E. 587.)

 "    A Vindication of Those whose Endeavour it is only to make the Earth
      a Common Treasury, called Diggers.--February 1650. (British Museum,
      P. M., E. 1365.)

 "    An Appeal for Money.--April 1650. (See "A Perfect Diurnal," British
      Museum, P. M., E. 534.)

 "    A Declaration from Wellingborrow, in the County of Northampton.--
      March 1650. (British Museum, under Wellinborrow, P. M., S. Sh.
      fol. 669 f., 15. 21.)

 "    An Appeal to all Englishmen to Judge between Bondage and
      Freedom.--March 1650. (British Museum, P. M., S. Sh. fol. 669 f.,
      15. 23.)

 "    An Humble Request to the Ministers of Both Universities and to all
      Lawyers of every Inns-a-Court.--April 1650. (Dyce and Forster's
      Library, South Kensington Museum.)

 "    The Law of Freedom in a Platform: Or True Magistracie
      Restored.--February 1652. (British Museum, P. M., E. 655. Also at
      the Guildhall and Bodleian Libraries.)


Agreement of the People, 29, 32, 87, 103.

Anabaptists, 15, 18.

Army, the Model, Views of, 29;
  Declaration of (1647), 93 (note).

Army Council, Resolution of, 33;
  Debate of, 103, 108.

Baptism, Winstanley on, 64.

Barclay (Apology), quoted, 58, 60, 65.

Baxter (Thos.), quoted, 50 (note).

Beard (Hibbert Lectures, 1883), quoted, 4, 10, 15, 18.

Buckle, quoted, 1, 21, 22.

Capital Punishment, Winstanley on, 69.

Carlyle, quoted, 38, 165, 166, 168, 170.

Cartwright, Thos., quoted, 20.

Chalmers, John, quoted, 63.

Chillingworth, quoted, 21.

Clarke Papers, quoted, 29, 34, 35, 36, 53, 103, 106, 108, 122, 124, 130.

Clergy, Winstanley on, 62, 167, 189.

Coomber, Thos., quoted, 49.

Coster, Robert, 126.

Council of State, Letter to Fairfax, 35;
  to Mr. Pentlow, 159.

Croese, Gerrard, quoted, 49 (note).

Cromwell, Oliver, quoted, 32, 33, 53, 165, 166, 168, 170;
  Open Letter to, 164.

Diggers, Information against, 34;
  Fairfax's visit to, 39;
  Mirth, 129;
  Declaration of, 91;
  Sufferings of, 143;
  Travels, 150.

Dispensations, Winstanley on, 53;
  Cromwell on, 53.

Doctrines, Family of Love, 16, 18;
  Presbyterian, 20, 32;
  Model Army, 29;
  Independent, 31, 32;
  Children of Light, 52, 65;
  Anabaptists, 15, 18.

Dove, Patrick Edward, quoted, 228.

Earth, Right to use of, Winstanley on, 70, 74, 76, 80, 83, 90, 96, 104,
118, 132, 170, 180, 213.

England, Reformation in, 12;
  Church of, 13.

Erasmus, quoted, 15, 18.

Everard, 36, 38.

Fairfax, Lord, Council of State to, 35;
  Gladman to, 39;
  Visit to Diggers, 39;
  Winstanley's letters to, 100, 124.

Fall, the, Winstanley on, 44, 53, 70.

Family of Love, History of, 15;
  Doctrines of, 16, 18.

Freedom, Winstanley on, 100, 112, 114, 179.

Fuller on Family of Love, 16.

Gardiner, quoted, 25, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 87, 163.

George, Henry, quoted, 146, 205, 228, 234.

Golden Rule, Winstanley on the, 39, 56, 80, 81, 86, 141, 154, 171, 190,
217, 225.

Government, Winstanley on, 68, 101, 177;
  Definition of, 181.

Hallam, quoted, 24.

Hare's pamphlets, 38.

Hooker, quoted, 21, 23.

House of Commons, Apology of, 25;
  Remonstrance of, 27;
  Officers' Petition to, 86;
  Appeal to, 105.

Independents, Origin of, 14;
  Growth of, 33;
  Doctrines of, 31.

Ireton, quoted, 106 (note).

Israel's Commonwealth, Winstanley on, 82, 93, 225.

Kingly Power, Winstanley on, 34, 100, 130, 168, 177, 202, 220.

Land Question, Winstanley on the, 70, 71, 124, 138, 156, 171, 175, 180.

Law, Winstanley on, 102, 136, 141, 168, 171, 183, 192, 197, 220;
  Definition of, 222.

Lawyers, Questions to, 102;
  Power of, 168, 225.

Light, The Inward, 45, 46, 52, 57, 59, 60, 63, 66, 77, 141, 183, 225;
  Children of, 17, 49, 54.

Locke, John, quoted, 74, 179, 197 (note), 200 (note).

Lockyer, Execution and burial of, 87.

Love, The Everlasting Law of, 217;
  Family of, 15, 16, 18.

Luther, quoted, 4, 10.

Macaulay, quoted, 23, 24, 28.

Mackay, Charles, quoted, 207.

Mather, Cotton, on origin of Quakers, 48.

Melanchthon, quoted, 9.

Ministry, Winstanley on the work of, 207.

Officers, Petition of, 86;
  Winstanley on functions of, 184.

Parliament, The Short and Long, 26;
  Winstanley on work of, 194, 197.

Peasantry, Demands of German, 8;
  Condition of English, 126, 141, 151, 159.

Penn, William, on Quaker Doctrines, 48 (note).

People, Agreement of, 29, 32, 87, 103;
  Condition of, 126, 141, 151, 159.

Politics, Influence of religion on, 8.

Prayer, Winstanley on, 63, 65.

Presbyterianism, Doctrines of, 20, 32.

Quakers, Doctrines of, 47 (note);
  Coomber on origin of, 49;
  Cotton Mather on, 48 (note);
  Thos. Bennet on, 49 (note);
  a Declaration from, 54 (note);
  Appeal of Army, 85 (note).

Rainborrow, Colonel, Views of, 103, 108.

Ranters, Winstanley on the, 147.

Reason, Luther on, 4;
  Hooker on, 21;
  Winstanley on, 44, 48, 59, 76.

Reformation, influence of the, 3, 10, 12.

Religion, Dual nature of, 6;
  Winstanley, Definition of, 139.

Restoration, the, Legislation of, 110.

Resurrection, the, Winstanley on, 47, 60, 66.

Revolt, The Peasants', 6, Appendix A.

Riches, Winstanley on, 173.

Rogers, Thorold, quoted, 7, 89, 109, 110.

Rowntree, J. S., quoted, 48, 58.

Ruskin, John, quoted, 61 (note).

Sexby, Edward, Views of, 103.

Shelley, quoted, 162, 178, 179.

Silence, the Law of, Winstanley on, 65.

Teachings, Human and divine, 52, 57, 59, 209, 211.

Tithes, 85, 167, 173.

Toleration, 13, 19, 31, 32, Appendix B.

Vagrants, Laws against, 109.

Wellingborrow, declaration from, 150.

Whitelocke, quoted, 37, 86, 87, 152, 159.

Wyclif, teachings of, 6, 13.

Winstanley, on Baptism, 64;
  Capital Punishment, 69;
  Clergy, 62, 167, 189;
  Dispensations, 53;
  Earth, rights to use of, 70, 74, 76, 80, 83, 90, 96, 104, 118, 132,
    170, 180, 213;
  Ecclesiastical Power, 55;
  Education, 214;
  Fall, the, 44, 53, 70;
  Freedom, 100, 112, 114, 179;
  Golden Rule, the, 39, 56, 80, 81, 86, 141, 154, 171, 190, 217, 225;
  Government, 68, 101, 177, 181;
  Israel's Commonwealth, 82, 93, 225;
  Kingdom of Heaven, 47, 48, 61, 66, 211;
  Kingly Power, 34, 100, 133, 168, 177, 202, 220;
  Land Question, 70, 71, 124, 138, 156, 171, 175, 180;
  Law, 102, 136, 141, 168, 171, 183, 192, 197, 220, 222;
  Lawyers, questions to, 102;
    power of, 168, 225;
  Light, the Inward, 45, 46, 52, 57, 60, 63, 66, 77, 141, 183, 225;
  Love, the Law of, 217;
  Ministry, work of a, 207;
  Officers, work of, 184;
  Parliament, work of, 194, 197;
  Prayer, 63, 65;
  Reason, 44, 48, 59, 76;
  Religion, 137;
  Resurrection, the, 47, 60, 66;
  Riches, 173;
  Silence, the Law of, 65;
  Teachings, human and divine, 52, 57, 59, 209, 211;
  Tithes, 167, 173;
  Titles of Honour, 173.

_Printed by_





Co-Author "The Story of My Dictatorship," "Government by the People,"

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    I. Preliminary Remarks.
   II. Why do men work?
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  VII. The Auxiliaries of Production.
 VIII. Barter, Trade, and Commerce.
   IX. Conflicting Tendencies.
    X. Ethics and Economics.
   XI. Social Ethics.
  XII. The Institution of Property.
 XIII. Of Wages.
  XIV. Of Rent.
   XV. Principles of Taxation.
  XVI. Of Interest.
 XVII. The Same continued.
XVIII. Of Money.
  XIX. Of Government.
   XX. The Way Out.
  XXI. Social Evolution.
 XXII. Democracy.


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Transcriber's notes:

    1. Original reads 'bleibt den Nachwelt'; changed to
       'bleibt der Nachwelt'.

    2. Footnote marker missing in original. Footnote appears on
       page 21, but refers to a quotation on page 22.

    3. Original has no opening double quotation mark before
       '_Englands Proper and Only Way_'.

    4. Original reads 'will upraid us'; changed to 'will upbraid us'.

    5. Original has closing double quotation mark after '_Work
       together; Eat bread together._'

    6. Original has an opening double quotation mark before 'Thou
       City of London'.

    7. Original reads 'georgeous throne'; changed to 'gorgeous throne'.

    8. Original reads 'Its perusual convinced us'; changed to 'Its
       perusal convinced us'.

    9. Original has no opening double quotation mark before '_Secondly_'.

   10. Original has 'all that have lent asssistance'; changed to
       'all that have lent assistance'.

   11. Original has closing double quotation mark at the end of this

   12. Original has no opening double quotation mark before

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